I don’t know any filmmaker who protected himself less than he did.André Téchiné, on Jacques Rivette

In DUELLE (Rivette, 1976)—set in Paris—Viva, the Queen of the Sun (Bulle Ogier), and Leni, Queen of the Moon (Juliet Berto) descend to Earth and outmaneuver one another for primacy. This annual battle of wills takes place during the forty days leading up to the first full moon of spring.

Rivette’s telling—which co-stars Nicole Garcia, Hermine Karaghuez, and Jean Babilée—captures an indelible moment of mid-1970s chic, with Ogier modeling a series of Renée Renard ensembles modeled after Yves Saint Laurent’s le smoking.

Mise-en-scène is a rapport with the actors, and the communal work is set with the first shot. What’s important for me in a film is that it be alive, that it be imbued with presence, which is basically the same thing. And that this presence, inscribed within the film, possesses a form of magic. There’s something profoundly mysterious in this. . . . It’s a collective work, but one wherein there’s a secret, too. Jacques Rivette

DUELLE, now streaming.

Jacques Rivette, Duelle (1976), from top: Bulle Ogier; Nicole Garcia (left) and Ogier; French film poster, Gaumont; Hermine Karaghuez; Juliet Berto (left) and Ogier; Berto. Images courtesy and © the filmmaker’s estate, the actors, and Gaumont.

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