Friday, May 1, 2020

Extracurricular Activities

La Bande des Quatre/Gang of Four (1989) - Rivette
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Not as playful as Celine and Julie Go Boating or Duelle, Gang of Four, Rivette's late 80s offering, nonetheless features and highlights young famale French actors' talents and charms on full display. They are Fejria Deliba (Anna), Laurence Côte (Claude), Bernadette Giraud(Joyce) and Inês de Medeiros (Lucia). They are roommates living in an old house in the Paris suburb, taking the same theater classes taught by Constance (Bulle Ogier). This leisurely paced film spends half of its time on stage as they (and others) take turns in various roles and play out scenes for Constance, their esteemed teacher, and the other half in extra curricular/theatrical activities outside the stage which involves a slight conspiracy with one of the students, Cécile (Natalie Richard), who just moved out of the house. It is slowly revealed that Cécile and her boyfriend is involved in some crime and it's affecting her ability to take classes and concentrate on her work.

In true Rivette fashion, things are light and fluid; our protagonists' lives reflecting Constance's stage directions sometimes, sometimes not, small intrigues that permeate and preoccupy some of the characters, interconnecting their lives in mysterious ways.

Interesting to see some of the faces who went on to a successful careers - I remember boyish Côte from Téchiné's superb Les Voleurs (1996), and Medeiros from two early Pedro Costa films, O Sangue (1989) and Casa de Lava (1996) and Irene Jacob (Double Life of Veronique, Red) in a non-speaking role as one of the students as well.

So what's next for me in Rivette's filmography? Noroit? Va Savoir? The sky is the limit!

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