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Jacques Rivette
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    (March 1, 1928-January 29, 2016)
    Born in Rouen, France
    Film critic for ‘Cahiers du Cinema’
    Editor in chief of ‘Cahiers du Cinema’ (1963-65)
    Directed the films ‘Paris Belongs To Us’ (1962), ‘The Nun’ (1966), ‘L’Amour Fou’ (1969), ‘Out 1’ (1971), ‘Celine and Julie Go Boating’ (1974), ‘Le Pont du Nord’ (1981), ‘Love on the Ground’ (1984), ‘Gang of Four’ (1988), ‘The Beautiful Troublemaker’ (1991), ‘Joan the Maiden’ (1994), ‘Up, Down, Fragile’ (1995), ‘Top Secret’ (1998), ‘The Duchess of Langeais’ (2007) and ‘Around a Small Mountain’ (2009)
    As editor of ‘Cashiers du Cinema,’ he added Marxist polemics to the articles about films.
    He would sometimes go AWOL from the film he was directing and turn up in a cinema, watching classic movies.
    He suffered a nervous breakdown in the mid-70s.
    His films were ‘deliberately paced’ (critic-speak for ‘there are long stretches where nothing happens’).
    His only commercial success was ‘The Nun,’ thanks to the controversy stirred up by the French government’s attempts to ban it as sacrilegious.
    He said James Cameron ‘can’t direct his way out of a paper bag.’
    He was described by a critic as ‘vaguely legendary, but largely unknown.’
    While attending screenings of classic films at the Cinematheque Francaise, he befriended fellow future directors Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut and Claude Chabrol.
    He and Truffaut conducted a series of influential interviews with directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks and Jean Renoir.
    Truffaut wrote, ‘His articles are the most comprehensive and the best that have ever been published in ‘Cahiers.’’
    His short film ‘Le Coup de Berger’ (1957) was often described as the beginning of French New Wave cinema.
    President De Gaulle called the controversy over ‘The Nun’ ‘silly’ and eventually ordered the Ministry of Information to allow its release (1967).
    He encouraged improvisation by the actors in his films.
    Critic David Thomson called ‘Celine and Julie Go Boating’ ‘the most innovative film since ‘Citizen Kane.’’

Credit: C. Fishel

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