Archive for January 14th, 2011

by Allan Fish

(France 1976 144m) DVD2 (France only, no Eng subs)

Aka. Northwest Wind; Noroit (une vengeance)

The Judas of the hours

p  Stéphane Tchalgadjieff  d  Jacques Rivette  w  Jacques Rivette, Marilu Parolini, Eduardo de Gregorio  play  “The Revengers Tragedy” by Cecil Tourneur  ph  William Lubtchansky  ed  Nicole Lubtchansky  m  Daniel Ponsard, Jean Cohen-Solal, Robert Cohen-Solal  art  Eric Simon  cos  Renée Renard

Geraldine Chaplin (Morag), Kika Markham (Erika), Bernadette Lafont (Giula), Babette Lamy (Regina), Élisabeth Lafont (Elisa), Danièle Rosencranz (Celia), Carole Faurenty (Charlotte), Anne-Marie Fijal (Fiao), Humbert Balsan (Jacob),

A woman is grieving over the body of her lifeless brother.  He’s washed up ashore on a beach across the bay from a peninsular at the end of which stands a castle.  She turns in the direction of the castle, barely visible through the dusky light, and invokes a curse in clipped English; “O thou goddess of the palace, mistress of mistresses, to whom the costly perfumed people pray, strike down my forehead unto undaunted marble, mine eyes into steady sapphires, turn my visage and, if I needs must glow, let me blush inward.”  The very opaque inscrutability of such a curse sums up Noroit’s appeal. 

            Essentially what we have is a series of vignettes, of almost tableaux, acted out much as if in a dream state, like a cinematic flipside to a Poussin painting entitled ‘A Dance to the Music of Death’.  There is a plot, of said grieving sister getting revenge on those who killed her brother, yet this is somewhat incidental to the events that take place.  This is the cinema of make believe, the acting is deliberately overstated and when death does strike it does much as it may in a school play, with an almost hypnotic sense of the surreal.  Nothing can be taken for granted; even the cause of vengeance is blurred, for though she intones as if over her brother, he may actually be her lover, or even both, as when she cries out later in the piece “O hour of incest”.  (more…)

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