Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Motorcycles, cars, trucks, trains, helicopters, boats, bicycles; for a film in which everyone walks, Jacques Rivette's Le Pont du Nord is filled with vehicles. Two women - Baptiste, a seemingly self-taught karate enthusiast who wears a wristwatch on her upper arm and cuts the eyes out of movie posters; and Marie, just out of jail with a bottomless hip-flask and a debilitating fear of enclosed spaces - wander the streets of Paris investigating the mysteries held within a briefcase filled with pages and pages of newspaper clippings, and a map of the city with a game-board drawn over it.

Much like the roar of the unseen helicopter that opens the film, Le Pont du Nord's depths are suggested rather than shown. Eschewing convention, Rivette instead fills his idiosyncratic version of Paris with images of construction sites, staircases, and statues of lions, offering the briefest glimpse of their significance before flying off to look at something else, while his characters do the same, rushing around the city following hazy-at-best clues that may or may not lead to another. They're lost in a labyrinth of side-streets and dead-ends, but when the questions are so mystifying, who needs answers? After all, you can't fight dragons with logic.

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