Up/Down/Fragile (Jacques Rivette)

Rating: *** (out of ****)

I must confess that my memory of this film is a bit hazy; I saw it back in mid-March, in a series of recent French films at the Walter Reade. Only now, however, is it receiving what I will charitably call a commercial release, as part of a Rivette retrospective at Anthology Film Archives. (The New York papers reviewed it, and that's good enough for me.) Not unlike Woody Allen's forthcoming Everyone Says I Love You, Rivette's latest is a sort of amateur musical, in which actors who can't really sing or dance attempt to do both, and in which enthusiasm and daring compensate for the absence of modern-day Gene Kellys and Judy Garlands. Thoroughly delightful from beginning to end, but ultimately too slight and unfocused to excite me as much as I'd hoped it would. The actors, as usual in Rivette, are uniformly superb -- especially Nathalie Richard, who also shines in Olivier Assayas' upcoming Irma Vep. Not Céline and Julie Go Boating by a long shot, but fun.