Le Rencontre

(Alain Cavalier, France, 1996)


Alain Cavalier seems to suffer from the fact that he has never really been aligned with any school of French filmmakers, or fervently championed with any regularity by any of the major magazines.

But I was intrigued by Le Rencontre, which is in many respects an ultimate exercise in personal cinema – filmed entirely by the director with a small Hi-8 video camera, narrated by him and his lover, and documenting the internal intimacies of their relationship.

Nonetheless, the film is rigorously, often lyrically stylised – comprised almost entirely of close-up inserts of various, talismanic objects collected by the lovers, with nary a glimpse of a face, and few views of any bodily parts beyond hands and an occasional foot.

The narration is pitched at a level of gush that undoubtedly makes the film painfully embarrassing for some – just about everything that Cavalier films leads him to whisper frantically "it's so marvellous, so beautiful, it filled me with such tender emotion!" – but this is a special and unique experiment.

MORE Cavalier: Libera Me, Vies, Être vivant et le savoir

© Adrian Martin March 1997

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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