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After Jacques Rivette's 750-minute comic serial Out 1 (1971) was turned down by French state TV, Rivette spent most of a year editing the material into this scary 255-minute masterpiece—not so much a digest as a different film with its own style and rhythms. Spectre (1972) tells the same basic story about two Parisian theater groups preparing Aeschylus plays and two eccentric loners, a middle-class deaf-mute (Jean-Pierre Laud) and a working-class flirt (Juliet Berto), who stumble upon evidence of a secret group that hopes to control Paris. (The coded messages Laud intercepts are significantly different in the two films.) The actors created their own characters and dialogue; what emerges is a strange mix of bravura acting styles, an unforgettable evocation of the period, and a haunting puzzle. With Francoise Fabian, Bernadette Lafont, Michel Lonsdale, and Bulle Ogier. In French with subtitles.

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