The last of the New Wave films, in that it is the final one from the group of highbrow pic critics-turned-filmmakers, this uses a vague suspense theme and budding love story around a tale of a supposedly perking world totalitarian takeover by some sort of secret organization. This turns out to be a fiction in the mind of a psychotic American ex-journalist who had to leave the US for political reasons.
All this is overblown, making it pretentious, slow-moving and fairly confused. It takes much too long to tell its over-complicated story.
A young girl (Betty Schneider) comes to Paris and her brother intros her into a Bohemian group. She is taken by an intense young theatrical director (Gianni Esposito) trying to put on a Shakespearean play with practically no money. She joins the troupe and hears he is in danger from some sort of organization. Pic then follows the girl’s quest to find out what the danger is. The emptiness and sordidness of the group is supposedly shown up through this search.
Rivette took two years to make the production and was given money by fellow ‘wavers’ to finish it. Acting is uneven, with Schneider not up to conveying the anguish and emotions of a fairly innocent young girl caught up in a big city. Others acquit themselves adequately, with Esposito especially effective as the idealistic, if weak, theatrical man.