Religiously filmed over 6 weeks in Paris, all cast and crew members committed themselves to intense improvisational experiments, collaboratively creating characters and a story orbiting around two theatre troupes and two outcasts (Jean-Pierre Léad's deaf-mute busker and Juliet Berto's con-woman) who believe they've uncovered a secret society known as The Thirteen. Energy is transferred from one thread to the next as they gradually form. While this formation ensues we begin to find our way in this slightly surreal thicket of intellectual ideas, implicit political disenchantment and conspiracies until confronted by additional mysteries.
Our understanding mirrors the theatrical groups, specifically the more unorthodox one who practically deconstruct their interpretation of Aeschylus' Greek tragedy Prometheus Bound until emerging out of the primeval chaos with some clarity.Like the actors, cameraman and Rivette himself we, as tacit participants, dedicated ourselves (though the initial rehearsal sequences from episodes 1 and 2 are nauseating but a peculiar pleasure in retrospect) to this colourful, eerie venture of discoveries. Going outside during each break and joining others after the first day for a drink, there was a strong communal buzz with everyone either discussing or merely allowing their faces to do most of the talking in reaction to what has transpired on screen. A weekend well spent.
Big thanks to The Badlands Collective for tirelessly collaborating on this project.