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HISTOIRE DE MARIE ET JULIENJacques Rivette’s latest film HISTOIRE DE MARIE ET JULIEN is a revival of his four-part project SCÈNES DE LA VIE PARALLÈLE (1976).
Only 'Duelle' and 'Noroît' were completed. HISTOIRE DE MARIE ET JULIEN began shooting but was cancelled after two days. However, Rivette never completely let go of the story.
Julien (Jerzy Radziwilowicz), about 40 years old, is a clockmaker with destructive impulses who decides to blackmail Madame X (Anne Brochet) who traffics in stolen antiques.
What he doesn’t know is that she has an even more dangerous secret that leads him to Marie (Emmanuelle Béart), with whom he had fallen in love a year earlier, and who has made a mysterious reappearance. She is an enigma, and despite their increasingly intensifying love, Marie seems incapable of physical feeling. Julien, who has rediscovered his love for life, is ready to crack the mystery and to help Marie to free herself. Together they go to a place ruled by love without limits.
Slow, elegant and minutely planned, HISTOIRE DE MARIE ET JULIEN is a tender love story but also one of Rivette’s darker films. Nothing seems to connect to the contemporary world and the audience is soon hypnotised by the strange events taking place in Julien’s house with its many unreliable clocks, hidden letters, mirrors and dark corridors. These elements have become Rivette’s trademarks, along with his literary and cinematographic tributes to Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James and Jean Cocteau. Using these elements, Rivette finally penetrates to the essence of the horror genre: an all devastating fear for what was not done, for what didn’t happen - and accordingly a fear of dying.