CC: Paris Belongs to Us (1961)

2020/21 SEASON!

Monday, November 02, 2020 - Monday, November 02, 2020

Paris Belongs to Us (1961)

Monday, November 02, 2020 @ 6:30 PM
Globe Cinema
- 617 8 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB
$13.75 General | $11.62 Members/Seniors/Students | $43.45 5-Pack Punch Pass



Paris Belongs to Us (1961), Rivette’s debut feature, begins with a key piece of puckish counterpoint in the form of an epigraph from Charles Péguy: “Paris belongs to no one.” A long and winding tale of theatre, conspiracy, and the Sphinx-like city of Paris herself, the story primarily follows Anne Goupil (Betty Schneider), a new arrival to the city who, having innocently attended a conspicuously solemn party, becomes involved with a vast network of people various degrees of shady who may or may not have something to do with what may or may not have been the suicide of somebody named Juan. Anne subsequently meets up with an old friend from the provinces (noted New Wave mainstay Jean-Claude Brialy) who conscripts her into a bare-bones experimental production of Shakespeare’s not-especially-popular Pericles, Prince of Tyre, sinister forces continuing their shadow show on the periphery. Is there an actual conspiracy? The body count would appear to be rising, but, in the words of critic and essayist Luc Sante, “you will not arrive at a decipherable code.” As for Anne: she at least appears to have a future.

In her book on Rivette for University of Illinois Press (the sole notable study of the director’s oeuvre written in English thus far), scholar Mary M. Wiles addresses Rivette’s feature debut as a work directly engaging art-making practices in an increasingly paranoid postwar context. “In its concurrent classical and cold war conspiracy scenarios, the film draws an implicit parallel between antiquity and the contemporary world, between theater and cinema, between the dramaturge and the film director, and in this way re-presents the quotidian world of postwar Paris with the force of ancient ritual.” The labyrinthine city becomes a playground for criminals, artists, and protean beings like in the early serials of Louis Feuillade (such as 1913’s Fantômas and 1915’s Les vampires). Influenced by new experimental methodologies being employed at the Théâtre National Populaire, Rivette has set out the establish collective rites or rituals—performative and transformative—as a potential mode of resistance in a world where the power of corporations and states operates pervasively but in a manner increasingly invisible or opaque. Suzanne Schiffman, credited here as “dialogue coach,” will go on to be a regular and intimate Rivette collaborator, serving as co-writer on the twelve-hour Out 1 (1971), the film that takes the template initiated with Paris Belongs to Us and pursues it to its outermost extremities. 

-Written by Jason Wierzba

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Masters Series: Jacques Rivette

Most cinema lovers are aware of the cohort of young film critics—among them Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Éric Rohmer, and Claude Chabrol—who would go on to notoriety as the preeminent figureheads of the French New Wave. Of the young Cahiers du cinéma critics operating under the informal tutelage of André Bazin, it was Jacques Rivette who would, as a filmmaker, take most directly to heart Bazin’s insistence that the cinema might be able to distinguish itself from the theatre most distinctively by repurposing its texts and templates. Rivette’s early criticism excelled at assessing the interrelation between the arts, and he continued as an active filmmaker to believe in cinema as an “impure” form assimilating elements from all those to have preceded it. From the outset presenting a radical break from tradition nevertheless in a constant, exceedingly dynamic dialogue with traditions (on any number of fronts at any given time), the films included in Calgary Cinematheque's Masters: Jacques Rivette series are first and foremost emancipatory collaborations with actresses, seeking to establish methods by way of which theatrical ritual might serve to indulge a return to archaic matriarchal myths, provoking a radical break with the thrust of industrial modernity and its image culture. 

About Calgary Cinematheque

We are a non-profit film society dedicated to presenting significant, challenging, and essential works of cinema art in Calgary. During our season, which runs from October to April, we screen films weekly, in curated programs which situate each film in a thematic and historical context. We do this because we believe cinema is an essential form of artistic, social, and political expression. Audiences should be able to engage with a wide range of cinematic expression, not only with what is commercially viable. We believe in the power of sharing these experiences with other people in a theatrical setting and we strive to cultivate a community around that experience.


In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, we honour and acknowledge that this screening takes place on Moh’kinsstis and the traditional Treaty 7 territory, as well as the oral practices of the Blackfoot confederacy: Siksika, Kainai, Piikani as well as the Îyâxe Nakoda and Tsuut’ina nations. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3 within the historical Northwest Métis homeland. Finally, we acknowledge all Nations, Indigenous and non, who live, work and play, as well as help steward this land, honour and celebrate this territory.

Calgary Showtimes: Paris Belongs to Us (1961)

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NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to