Up, Down, Fragile

After the austere revision of the historical film in the previous Jeanne la pucelle (1994), Rivette conceived Haut bas fragile under the sign of musical cinema. “Inspiration? MGM’s low budget films of the fifties, shot in four or five weeks, using sets left by other films; in particular a Stanley Donen film called Give a Girl a Break“(Rivette). Here is a film with a group of girls, songs and dance numbers. Anna Karina’s special starring suggests that Haut bas fragile also intended to evoke the “Nouvelle Vague spirit”. (Cinemateca Portuguesa)

The Nun

Rivette’s second feature adapts Diderot’s homonymous novel about a young woman who is obliged to go to a convent. Before it was even directed, the film unleashed a cabal of conservative politicians, who banned it, resulting in a huge scandal. It was authorized only after the title changed to Simone Simonin, la religieuse de Denis Diderot, although no one ever referred to it as such. Very different from the style that Rivette would adopt from L’amour fou (1969), rigorous and rarefied, extremely “written”, La religieuse has an exceptional performance of Anna Karina in the leading role. (Cinemateca Portuguesa)