3701 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
dir. Jacques Rivette, France, 1968, 35mm, b/w, French w/ English subtitles, 255 min.
This legendary, largely unseen, four-hour masterpiece is the film that solidified Jacques Rivette’s reputation as a major innovator in French cinema. A study of disintegrating personal relationships, L’Amour Fou focuses on a theater group preparing to stage Racine’s Andromaque as they are being filmed by a television crew. During the rehearsal, the play’s director recasts the lead role, replacing his wife with his former mistress. The film, shot in both 16mm and 35mm, developed from the ideas of the cast and technicians who improvised during filming. Its length is integral to its meaning and texture, bearing what critic Jean-André Fieschi calls, “the fruit of an impossible encounter between the two extremes of absolute control and absolute freedom.”