Smoking/No Smoking is a 1993 French movie. It was directed by Alain Resnais and written by Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri, from the play Intimate Exchanges by Alan Ayckbourn. The movie starred Pierre Arditi and Sabine Azéma.
It won the César Award for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Writing.
“Smoking” and “No Smoking” are two segments of the movie which are based on closely connected plays. The original plays covered eight separate stories, which have been pared down to three each for these movies. At a certain point in the story of each segment, the five female characters (all played by Sabine Azema) and the four male characters (all played by Pierre Arditi) have their lives skillfully recapped in terms of “what might have happened” if they had made or failed to make certain choices. For example, “No Smoking” focuses chiefly on the relationship between the mild-mannered Miles Coombes and his infinitely more aggressive and ambitious wife, Rowena.
The narrator is voiced by Peter Hudson. —Wikipedia
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
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