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Don`t Touch the Axe

Jacques Rivette
Ne touchez pas la hache
France, Italy 2007 / 137’

On a mission to reinstate the Spanish king Ferdinand VII, French General Armand de Montriveau leads his troops to a Spanish island. For five long years he has scoured every convent in Europe and the New World in search of a woman he once loved desperately who has now disappeared without trace. Here at last, he finds her. He asks to speak to the nun, Thérèse...

Berlin IFF 2007


Despite being a key member of the Nouvelle Vague, Jacques Rivette has languished in the shadows of his more renowned colleagues: Godard, Rohmer, Chabrol and Truffaut. Rivette's work is certainly demanding, but along with Godard, Rivette turns out to have been the most playful and innovative of a group who literally changed the face of filmmaking.

Interrupting the narrative is a series of intertitles that reinforce the literary nature of the undertaking, but which also provide an ironic distance from the actions under scrutiny. Rivette's direction is masterly. If you want to witness a director fully in control of every aspect of his medium, Ne touchez pas la hache offers a rare opportunity.

Piers Handling, IFF Toronto 2007

Jacques Rivette was born in Rouen, France. In the fifties, he begin writing for the Cahiers du Cinéma, which teamed him with Nouvelle Vague. In 1960 he directed his first feature film with Paris nous appartient (60). His filmography includes La Religieuse, L'Amour fou, Duelle, La Bande des quatre and La Belle Noiseuse.

Selected filmography:

1960 Paryż należy do nas / Paris nous appartient / Paris Belongs to Us

1966 Zakonnica / La Religieuse / The Nun

1968 Miłość szalona / L'Amour fou

1974 Celine i Julie płyną statkiem / Céline et Julie vont en bateau / Celine and Julie Go Boating

1976 Duelle / Twiligt

1988 Banda czterech / La Bande des quatre / Gang of Four

1991 Piękna złośnica / La Belle Noiseuse

1998 Sekretna obrona / Secret défense / Secret Defense

2001 Kto wie? / Va savoir / Who Knows?

2007 Ne touchez pas la hache / Don't Touch the Axe

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