Hélène (Delphine Seyrig), a widow, sells antiques from the apartment she shares with her stepson, Bernard. Bernard is haunted by his participation in the torture and murder of a young woman named Muriel while serving as a soldier in the war in Algeria. Hélène is obsessed by the memory of a man she was in love with twenty-two years ago. When she meets him again, she finds out he is not at all the man she remembered. Meanwhile, Bernard keeps on watching again and again the Super 8 film of his Algerian experience. Alain Resnais’ third feature film, like Hiroshima mon amour and Last Year at Marienbad is a powerful meditation on memory and images. Images in the mind and images on film are the two forms of recollection the characters have to deal with. Muriel has also been one of the rare French films to deal with torture in Algeria, a taboo subject matter one year after the end of the war and Algerian independence. Screenplay and dialog were written by Resnais’ writer for Nuit et brouillard Jean Cayrol.
While a seminal figure of the French New Wave, Alain Resnais was not, like so many of his contemporaries, an alumnus of the film journal Cahiers du Cinema. In fact, he existed well outside of the sphere of filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, and Jacques Rivette, with a dedication to formalism, modernist concerns, and social and political issues not found in the work of his fellow innovators. Focusing repeatedly on themes of time and memory, Resnais drew from the well of serious literature to offer a singular philosophical and artistic vantage point, employing enigmatic narrative structures, lush cinematography, and lyrical editing patterns to create some of the most provocative and controversial work of the period. Born June 3, 1922, in Vannes, France, Resnais began making his first 8 mm films at the age of 14. In 1943 he enrolled at the newly formed Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographie, leaving the following year after declaring his studies too theoretical. He… read more
I saw Muriel in a cinema setting last night, and I thought it was a fascinating, complex, intriguing and perplexing film, one that would undoubtedly benefit from multiple viewings. Certainly somehwat of a companion piece to another of Resnais' works, Hiroshima Mon Amour.
If it makes sense to talk about dramatization of form -as opposed to dramatize ideas-, Resnais has achieved it here, and the experience is at its very least baffling, stimulating and vitally innovative regardless of how many times you've been through it. Also, I love Delphine Seyrig in this film.
To me it's film which shows the horrors of our branching realities, multiplying at such a rate as to compromise an individual's sense of self.; an evil twin to "Hiroshima Mon Amour", if you will. One of those complex films that benefits soooo much from the multiple viewings that the wonder of DVD technology can provide.
As the NYFF celebrates its 50th year, a look at the posters from the films that made up its first incarnation in 1963.
A year or so ago, while writing about the brilliant poster for Alain Resnais’s most recent film, Wild Grass, I was a little disparaging of
Starting today and on through March 20, the newly refurbished Museum of the Moving Image will be screening a whole lot of Alain Resnais
Certain shots linger in the mind for reasons that are unquantifiable, unexplainable. For some reason this image of a casino at dusk, repeated
Muriel ou Le temps d’un retour 1963
Alan Resnais and Jean Cayrol (scenario and dialogue) combine in this superb refection on memory and its unrelenting persistence, like one… read review
For many people, this is Alain Resnais’ best film though it has been inevitably overshadowed by the two films he made before it(HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR, LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD). It’s his first feature… read review