Jacques Rivette’s Early Influence

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Mar 9, 2016

As late, beloved French auteur Jacques Rivette came of age in the early 1950s, a thriving film culture in Paris was developing around the journal Cahiers du cinéma, for which Rivette wrote (and was later editor in chief). Rivette soon began making his own short films, and by 1956 he’d completed the acclaimed short Le coup du berger. Considered by many to be the first film of the nouvelle vague, the twenty-eight-minute comedy employed an innovative approach that would become a standard-bearer of the iconic French movement, and it featured cameos by Rivette’s fellow Cahiers devotees—the filmmakers Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, and François Truffaut.

In a program on our release of Paris Belongs to Us, Rivette’s 1961 feature-length debut, author and film scholar Richard Neupert explores Rivette’s influence on his peers and on what Neupert calls the “intertextual buddy system” that emerged within the generation of young filmmakers at work in this period. In the clip below, hear him discuss how Chabrol, Godard, Truffaut, and other early New Wave filmmakers contributed to Rivette’s work, as he did to theirs.

Made when Rivette was thirty years old, the mystery-drama Paris Belongs to Us established the filmmaker’s unmistakable cinematic voice—the film’s narrative complexity and distinct visual style foreshadowing his rich and fascinating future career. Below, Neupert further examines the experimental visual aesthetic of this early work by Rivette.