Le Pont du Nord (1981) | Jacques Rivette’s hypnotic Don Quixote set in 1980s Paris

Le Pont du Nord cover

Wandering the streets of Paris, claustrophobic ex-con Marie (Bulle Ogier) meets a free spirit in troubled teen Baptiste (Pascale Ogier), and together they set out to solve a mystery surrounding an old map of Paris that Marie finds in the suitcase of her former lover from her anarchist days.

Bulle Ogier in Le Pont du Nord

In French New Wave director Jacques Rivette’s Le Pont du Nord, the classic Don Quixote tale is transposed to 1980s Paris. Bulle Ogier (best known for her work with husband Barbet Schroeder in films like La Vallée and Maîtresse) is Sancho Panza and her daughter Pascale (who tragically died just two years after this film was released), is Quixote, while the construction of the banlieues of Paris are the windmills that Quixote feared were giants.

Playing out like a surreal snakes-and-ladders board game involving hinted at conspiracies and paranoia, this mystical, hypnotic film is gorgeous to watch thanks to cinematographer William Lubtchansky’s dawn and dusk shots of a Paris that only Parisians see. The lack of a clear narrative may not be to everyone’s taste, but this is cinema at its purist.

Pascale Ogier in Le Pont du Nord

The Masters of Cinema Series special edition Blu-ray features a new 1080p transfer (and a progressive transfer on the DVD) in its original 1.37:1 aspect ratio, with optional English subtitles; plus a collector’s booklet, featuring new and vintage writings on the film, as well as rare archival imagery.

A must see. Just let yourself go…


About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on March 18, 2014, in Classic World Cinema, Must-See, World Cinema and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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