Alain Resnais is deservedly classed among the masters of world cinema, but “mastery” might be the wrong term to describe his method: Almost 50 years after Last Year at Marienbad, Resnais remains dedicated to experimentation, imagination and games of chance. Wild Grass, based on the novel L’Incident by Christian Gailly and titled after those stubborn weeds that erupt from cracks in the pavement, is an ode to uncontrolled impulse and the possibilities—effervescent or ominous, sublime or absurd—that arise from accident. The triggering incident is fairly ordinary: A woman goes out shopping for shoes and has her purse snatched; a man goes out to buy a watch battery and stumbles upon the woman’s red wallet. Out of these chinks in everyday routine grow a tangle of unruly emotions, as the man, Georges (André Dussollier), develops an inexplicable obsession with the woman, Marguerite (Sabine Azéma), a dentist and amateur aviatrix. Is Georges a melancholy romantic, an aging husband in the throes of some ongoing midlife crisis or a dangerous psychotic? Is Marguerite, with her staring eyes and blaze of scarlet hair, an endearing eccentric or has she entirely taken leave of her senses? Is Wild Grass a thriller, a screwball comedy, a love story? With false starts and false endings, sudden shifts of palette and a mood-swinging score, Resnais plays it as all three, and as something else entirely. As the weirdly omniscient narrator reminds us, “After the cinema, nothing surprises you. Anything can happen.” —Juliet Clark
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
"It feels odd to be walking together. You've barely met. You've spoken on the phone. Let's call it speaking. You'd given up hope of meeting. Now you're walking together. Not very straight. You could almost take each other's arm."
Watch it for the opening sequence alone. And the wit, the saturated color coding, the imaginative bravado...Earlier on I thought Georges was writing the "narrative" and conjuring up the other characters. It was as though he was drafting scenes for a novel-in-progress that didn't quite hang together yet. The final ending (there is more than one!) felt a little arbitrary, though playful and impulsive like the film.
Fortunately, we have Knight and Day behind us, but I'm glad to be updating that same entry still with fresh takes on Restrepo. In this
Since it’s no secret by now that The Girlfriend Experience is my favorite movie poster of the year and since I already selected a few of these
"'After the cinema, nothing surprises you. Everything is possible.' So says the lovesick obsessive Georges Palet in a scene from Wild Grass
When the line-up for the 2009 New York Film Festival was unveiled this week, one of the surprises was the announcement that Alain Resnais
"Dear everyone with blase reactions to the NYFF lineup in the indieWIRE piece," C Mason Wells tweeted yesterday: "it must be hard leading
Alain Resnais scouting his new film Les herbes folles in 2008 at the age of 86. Photo by Francine Deroudille.
No matter, we shall have loved each other well Quotation from Flaubert as interpolated script toward the end of the Alain Resnais’s film Les herbes folles 2009, shown… read review
El cine recupera su aspecto lúdico en esta pelicula de Resnais devolviendonos esa frescura del artificio que hace de este arte su deber ser.
En el film todo es juego: juego de puesta en escena… read review
Alain Resnais’ “Wild Grass” (2009) is about 21st century America all over. War in Iraq is Resnais’ wild grass. Financial collapse and absurd behaviors which brought it about are the wild grass. Petroleum… read review