Rivette’s cinema has never been easy to track down. Access to his interviews, and the many extraordinary polemics he penned for Cahiers du cinéma in the Fifties and Sixties, has also been limited. “Order of the Exile,” a website named after a line from Paris Belongs to Us, has been making every effort to rectify this matter. Its intrepid founders, Daniel Stuyck and Ross Wilbanks, say they’ve designed the outpost, hosted by DVD Beaver’s Gary Tooze, to be a “small and lean” labor of love, aimed at making more Rivette available in English than ever before.
There are even suitably Rivettian intimations of behind-the-scenes co-conspiracy—though certainly not, in this case, maleficent. The site has brought its founders into contact with other ardent devotees, many of whom know Rivette’s work only through video. Readers have become contributors, happily driven to transcribe, compile, or translate material, thereby adding to the site’s stripped-down yet well-organized database.
“But we’re not archivists collecting everything. Selection is key to what we do,” emphasizes Stuyck, currently attending the graduate film-production program at the University of Texas, Austin. As the guiding light behind the project, Stuyck has also taken the time to handle any rights issues that could arise in reprinting previously published material (for instance, the entirety of the out-of-print 1977 BFI monograph Rivette: Texts & Interviews, edited by Jonathan Rosenbaum, has been made available).
Order of the Exile is a sterling example of a site that’s valuable for reintroducing and rediscovering overlooked writing from the past. The holdings of this online collection cut a wide swath, including what is apparently still the only published English translation of Rivette’s key 1961 essay “On Abjection,” concerning the morality of film style; two essential extended interviews with Rivette from 1963 and 1981 (the latter previously untranslated); and even a listing (compiled by a dogged Joseph Coppola) of all of Rivette’s star ratings given to films in Cahiers du cinéma from 1955 to 1966.
Go to www.jacques-rivette.com