Fool's Mate: Le Coup du Berger

Directed by Jacques Rivette

27 minutes / B&W
French / English subtitles
Release: 1957

Included on 2-disc box set Early Short Films of the French New Wave.

An early film from the six-decade career of hugely influential French director and critic Jacques Rivette.

Claire (Virginie Vitry) is given a gorgeous fur coat by her lover, Claude (Jean-Claude Brialy). To avoid raising her sleepy husband’s suspicions (Etienne Loinod), she hatches a plan to “find” a baggage claim ticket on the floor of a cab. Claim the bag, see that it contains a fur coat – and voilà! – she can wear it without fear. “The perfect crime,” as her lover says... But is it?

While long running times would become a Rivette trademark, FOOL’S MATE is a tautly paced short drama that unfolds like a chess match, with moves and counter-moves as each side tries to outwit the other. The digital restoration highlights the film’s exquisite cinematography. Virginie Vitry is a sexy, pouty, luminous lead, and the film features cameos by Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, and Claude Chabrol.

“Jacques Rivette's FOOL'S MATE might be considered the first all-star Nouvelle Vague film, both in front and behind the camera.” —Coffee Coffee and More Coffee

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