Monday, April 24, 2006

La Belle noiseuse

Notes on Jacques Rivette's 'La Belle noiseuse' ('The Beautiful Nuisance', 1991) —

"Breaking through". One place to another. Places. Two houses, connecting path: guest-house and Frenhofer's. Past, or the memory of the past, within the present. Frenhofer-Piccoli's room and Liz-Birkin's: two bedrooms, separate beds, a doorway in-between. The softened hues of Liz's room, the blues of Frenhofer's, matching the hue of the shirt. Nicolas's sister: "This room reminds me of the studio we used to have... I hated that room..." Marianne-Béart and the fetus-crouch. "We must go further." The mark of one woman on the other: Béart's buttocks (fetus-crouch, all asshole) effaces Birkin (crab-hand reaching out of ass; a blue that again matches the hue of Piccoli's shirt); Birkin's dirty footprint effaces the white paper of a sketch of Béart. Béart rejects Birkin's treating her "like a doll". The posture, movement, t-shirt of Nicolas-Bursztein, a smug pragmatism, the concerns for business, a rage against Frenhofer's methods: a mirror opposite of Frenhofer. The relationship between the cinema-screen and the canvas: a précis on framing, point-of-view, and the manufacture of new worlds (Frenhofer attempting to 'reframe' Marianne after drunkenly falling off his stool); acting and "method-of-acting" in relation to bodily "work"; filmed work vs. commedia dell'arte / the Clown. "Chance" re-examined, 're-framed' by painting, -capturing- the moment, the ephemeral, point-of-view-as-singularity in space-time. The position of Liz's painted face (a) on the canvas whereupon she appears as half-crab, painted over as mentioned with the Béart-crouch, before the canvas is adorned with the violent red vaginal slash; (b) on the canvas at -which position within Rivette's frame- during WHICH particular shot/point of the process of reconfiguring the painting with Béart's presence. A floating, disembodied head, made more bobbing and dislocated in each shot during this sequence as its position in the frame changes position like a broken clock-hand. "Ten years ago you weren't afraid to go farther" — a painting of madness, a cinema of madness: Rivette reflects upon his current aesthetic vis-à-vis his '70s aesthetic (or up to the point of 'Le Pont du Nord' in 1981).

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