Around a Small Mountain

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Around a Small Mountain
Around a Small Mountain 2009 Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jacques Rivette
Produced by
  • Martine Marignac
  • Maurice Tinchant
Written by
Music by Pierre Allio
Cinematography Irina Lubtchansky
Edited by Nicole Lubtchansky
Pierre Grise Productions
Release date
  • 8 September 2009 (2009-09-08) (Italy)
  • 9 September 2009 (2009-09-09) (France)
Running time
84 minutes
  • France
  • Italy
Language French

Around a Small Mountain (French: 36 vues du pic Saint-Loup) is a 2009 French-language drama film directed by Jacques Rivette, which was his final film before his death on 29 January 2016, and starred Jane Birkin and Sergio Castellitto. It was screened in the main competition at the 66th Venice International Film Festival.[1]


Kate (Jane Birkin) is driving along a winding mountain road when her car stalls. Vittorio (Sergio Castellitto) happens along, stops, and fixes her car without ever speaking to her. After he drives away, he slows down and decides to turn back. Something about the woman has interested him.

Later in town, Vittorio learns that Kate has returned to join her family's traveling circus after leaving under mysterious conditions fifteen years ago. Kate's lover was killed during a performance. Intrigued by Kate's story, Vittorio stays for the show, and then decides to stay in town for a while, booking the room above a local cafe. He begins to attend all the shows, fascinated by the circus and the lives of its performers—all the while trying to discover the secret that led to Kate's sudden departure.

When the circus caravan leaves town, Vittorio follows. With nowhere to go and nothing else to do, both he and Kate seem to be running away with the circus. Gradually he learns about the buried past of the circus and the buried careers of its performers.


  • Jane Birkin as Kate
  • Sergio Castellitto as Vittorio
  • André Marcon as Alexandre
  • Jacques Bonnaffé as Marlo
  • Julie-Marie Parmentier as Clémence
  • Hélène de Vallombreuse as Margot
  • Tintin Orsoni as Wilfrid
  • Vimala Pons as Barbara
  • Mikaël Gaspar as Tom
  • Stéphane Laisné as Stéphane
  • Dominique D'Angelo as Dom
  • Hélène De Bissy as La patronne de l'auberge
  • Pierre Barayre as Le patron de l'auberge
  • Marie-Paule André as Estelle
  • Julie-Anne Roth as Xénie
  • Elodie Mamou as Elodie
  • Laurent Lacotte as Monsieur Gaffe
  • Marie Vauzelle as Madame Gaffe


Critical reception[edit]

In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert gave the film three our of four stars, writing:

Sometimes a film is simply a story we might have found interesting to live. Its message may be no more than that we all have to weather hard times. To ordinary life may be added some style and artifice, allowing the filmmaker to tweak reality into a more pleasing form. Maybe that's what Jacques Rivette has in mind with Around a Small Mountain.[2]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 2010 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Silver Ribbon Nomination for Best Actor (Sergio Castellitto)
  • 2009 Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Nomination (Jacques Rivette)[3]


  1. ^ "66th Venice International Film Festival: 7 September". la Biennale di Venezia. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger (25 August 2010). "Around a Small Mountain". Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Awards for Around the Small Mountain". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 

External links[edit]