I think the title Hurlevent means something about the wind.
Well-bred Catherine loves Roch, an orphan her family has raised from a young kid with the help of servant Helene. Catherine’s brother William has taken over their estate and wants to get rid of Roch. Cat meets Olivier by chance and stays at his estate, gets to know him and his sister Isabelle, he eventually proposes. Roch disappears after overhearing a conversation about his being below Cat’s social class, comes back rich three years later, Cat and Olivier are now engaged and William is a drunken gambling addict. Roch wins the estate from William and hangs around until Catherine dies from illness.
Movie opens with a great looking dream scene of Catherine and Roch on a rocky hill while William watches, hidden. Has a few interesting parts like that, but mostly just a good-looking literary adaptation of a dreary story. Rivette’s not especially proud of it either… I think we can mostly ignore this one.
Interesting soundtrack, only used in a few scenes. Valérie Hazette in her Senses of Cinema article says: “The only concession to lyricism can be found in the magical accents of Le mystère des voix bulgares, a Bulgarian choir’s album.”
Rivette says about the adaptation: “I had decided not to re-read it: I asked Pascal to summarise it for me. I only wanted to have the outline of the story and of the characters, that’s all. And from the start, I told him: “Only the first part”, because I knew about the second part. I had a very strong memory of the Wyler movie – because I hate it – and of the Buñuel movie because, as you know, I find it very beautiful. The characters are 40, but still, the movie remains very, very powerful.”
Francois Truffaut died a few days after the shoot. “For the whole length of the shoot, every single day, we were expecting to receive the phone call that would tell us ‘François has died…’ it was a truly harrowing situation.”
“Since it was necessary to condense quite a lot, by force of circumstance, I believe that it is indeed the most elliptical of all my movies. Otherwise I might have made a three or three-and-a-half hour movie, like I usually do. But there, we were obliged to simplify, to keep to the essentials. It might have given a more vigorous and energetic feel to it …”