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Love On The Ground
Love On The Ground “With a creditable cast,
  Jacques Rivette’s
  Love On The Ground
  (originally released
  in 1984 in France as
’Amour Par Terre)
  is an intriguing foray
  into the ongoing

CHARLOTTE (GERALDINE CHAPLIN, TALK TO HER) AND EMILY (JANE BIRKIN, BLOW UP) are actresses who give 'theatre at home' performances. When they meet troubled director Clément Roquemaure (Jean-Pierre Kalfon, The Dreamers), who wants to give a private performance at his own home, their lives become surreal and intertwined with both Roquemaure and his friend — the mysterious magician and medium Paul (André Dussollier, Amelie), who manages to affect the play and its actors in surprising ways.

When Roquemaure invites both Charlotte and Emily to take part in his play, neither actress understands why he has asked two of them to come when there is only one female part. He also wants them to
move into his house while they rehearse. "Roquemaure won't make us quarrel," says Charlotte. Paul is at the house and produces a white dove from his sleeve, speaking to them ambiguously. Emily comments: "I hate people who have things up their sleeves — doves, grand-mothers…"

It is a darkly dramatic house, full of shadowy corners, and Roquemaure sets verbal tests for the girls — tests to make the decision who will play the lead female part. Left to their own devices, Charlotte and Emily explore the house and discover a room that appears to be left as if someone had just walked out, leaving a wardrobe full of clothes — and what of the beautiful black dress slashed to ribbons? Was it the room of the mysterious Béatrice, who once had a relationship with Paul and left with Clément?

Emily is astonished to find that when she is with Paul, she can see supernatural visions. While she is in bed with Paul, she sees herself lying dead on the ground with a wound on her forehead and a clock chiming. She claims to be frightened of the magician — she doesn't
like waking nightmares and omens frighten her. If she's going to die, she says, she doesn't want to know. "I can't forget the girl in red,
she says, like Death taking me by the hand…"

And Charlotte's relationship with Roquemaure is equally odd. Is he looking for a woman who is alive in his scripts and in his imagination — only to be disappointed by the imperfect creatures he meets?

There is also a surreal situation where a girl in a red hat approaches Emily on the train, telling her she doesn't like begging but was taught by a blind man who helped her to steal. And another where a stranger rescues Charlotte from an embarrassing situation only to reveal her
life story.

Charlotte's complicated and sad life unfolds, but both she and Emily appear to hold back from full commitment. When, in a rash moment, their friendship is tested, it almost ends in tragedy.

Love On The Ground also features Isabelle Linnartz as Béatrice; Sandra Montaigu as Eléonore; Eva Roelens as Adriana/Justine; Facundo Bo as Silvano; and Laszlo Szabo as Virgil.

One of Jacques Rivette's most strange and compelling films, Love On The Ground is a must for fans of avant-garde films and is released on 25 February (2008) at an RRP of £14.99. Language: French (Subtitled).