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Gang of Four (1988)

Cast: Bulle Ogier, Bulle Ogier, Benoit Regent, more...
Director: Jacques Rivette, Jacques Rivette
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Studio: Image Entertainment
Genre: Drama, Foreign, France
Running Time: 155 min.
Languages: French
Subtitles: English
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This title is currently out of print.

No film critic of 1989 could write an assessment of the French-made Gang of Four (originally La Bande des Quatre) without using the phrase "Pirandellian" at one point or another. The story revolves around the hand-picked acting class of a famed director (Bulle Ogier) who works only with women. The four members of the class (Fejria Deliba, Nathalie Richard, Bernadette Giraud and Ines de Medeiros D'Almeida) are assigned to study the text of the Marivaux play Double Infidelities. Now, it just so happens that the four actresses share an apartment...and as they begin allowing the Marivaux play to influence their offstage lives, they share a lot more than room and board. A winner of the Berlin Film Festival International Critics prize, Gang of Four maintains an acceptable level of suspense and sexual intrigue throughout, though the spell is broken by a confusing climax. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Gang of Four by gbraren December 9, 2003 - 3:46 PM PST
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
This review is in essence more of a correction of the summary listed here - the film is about four female acting students who attend an all-female acting school in Paris. "Film students," in addition to being incorrect, suggests, to me, a very different film.

As this is only second film of Rivette's I've seen, I don't know that I can offer a very substantial review. Note the running time, the film is very long. However, my introduction to Rivette was his 1974 film, and apparently his best known (though not on DVD, curse them) "Celine et Julie vont en bateau," which runs a good 30 minutes longer yet I found vastly more engaging. Gang of 4 has a start-stop intrigue sort of plot, punctuated by long theatre segments as we watch the girls in acting class with one another. I found this structure a bit tedious, my attention wandering. The plot has four girls living in a house outside of Paris. One moves out and another moves in. The departed becomes estranged from her friends as her boyfriend appears to be in serious trouble. A mysterious man possessing information about the distressed girlfriend has a run-in with each of the house-mates, giving each a different version of himself, beginning an affair with one. He may be a cop or a gangster, his intentions ambiguous if not dangerous. Thus this plot comes together and continues ... very slowly.

Lacks the playfulness and intricate, surreal narrative of "Celine and Julie." And the costuming is '88-atrocious. Otherwise i don't have much to compare it to. My best recommendation is, if you're new to Rivette, don't start here ... but certainly do start as he is definitely doing something different. Come back to this one much later if you enjoy his work.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.67)
12 Votes
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