(36 vues du Pic Saint Loup) Are characters ever offstage in movies by Jacques Rivette? The 81-year-old French director’s 2009 “Around A Small Mountain,” runs hardly eighty beautifully edited minutes, and its slightness resounds against his lifelong fascination with acting and role-playing. The two-and-a-half hours of “Va savoir” (2001) or the nearly thirteen hours of his 1971 “Out 1: noli me tangere” are deeply embedded in the gentle play of grown-ups who have either run off to join the circus, or who are, in fact, the circus, failing in small towns along the picturesque mountain roads of the Pic Saint Loup region of France. Jane Birkin is especially striking as the ringmaster of all the affairs. They’re ghosts, ghosts ever in touch with life, like the characters in Robert Altman’s last film, “A Prairie Home Companion,” knowing that angels are not of this life. But they’re also artists, and their process, creating and improving their circus gags for increasingly small audiences, provide the movie’s modest momentum. The last shot placidly observes as a full moon is slowly occluded by glaucous clouds: the clouding of sight, memory, the pulling of a final curtain. With Sergio Castellitto, André Marcon, Jacques Bonnaffé, Julie-Marie Parmentier, Hélène de Vallombreuse, Tintin Orsoni, Vimala Pons, Mikaël Gaspar, Stéphane Laisné. 84m. (Ray Pride)
“Around a Small Mountain” opens Friday at Siskel. A trailer is below.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.