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1,094 Ratings


Directed by Alain Resnais
France, 1986
Drama, Romance


In the 1920s, Marcel, a celebrated concert violinist, is visiting Pierre, an old friend, and his high-spirited wife Romaine. After dinner, Marcel recounts a personal story of love and betrayal that moves Romaine deeply. So begins a passionate affair that will ultimately tear all their lives apart.

Our take

One of Susan Sontag’s favorites, Alain Resnais’ acclaimed Mélo shines through its interplay between the theatrical and cinematic. Adapting Henri Bernstein’s play closely, Resnais’ rendition varies with immaculate long takes and compositions, highlighting outstanding performances from his actors.

Mélo Directed by Alain Resnais

Awards & Festivals

César Awards

1987 | 2 wins including: Best Actress

1987 | 6 nominations including: Best Film

Critics reviews

To call [Mélo] an adaptation wouldn’t be quite right—there’s no attempt to “open up” the text, to disguise its stage origins, to avoid that short-sighted epithet “a filmed play.” Instead, it’s a quiet, demonstrative polemic—an act of laconic tribute… that forces us to contemplate the aesthetic integrity of the original object. What emerges from Resnais’ formalism is nothing less than an apologia for melodrama itself—a shifting, multi-faceted machine of empathy and pain.
April 25, 2014
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The exquisite art of MÉLO, like the art of Alain Resnais in general, bears a certain resemblance to sculpture: it needs to be seen from several different vantage points if one is to fully appreciate its shapeliness and the powerful multiplicity of its meanings. The following selection of vantage points can’t pretend to be exhaustive; at best, it presents only a few starting points for sounding the bottomless depths of this deceptively simple movie.
April 15, 1988
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What are people saying?

  • Michael H. CLAES's rating of the film Mélo

    VENENEUX & VIBRANT. Dans cette adaptation fidèle de la pièce de 1924, RENAIS fait vivre & mourir sous nos yeux le drame du triangle amoureux, porté par sa femme AZEMA & ses complices ARDITI & DUSSOLIER. ==+ POISONOUS & VIBRANT. In this faithful adaptation of the 1924 play, RENAIS brings the drama of the love triangle to life & death before our eyes, carried by his wife AZEMA & his accomplices ARDITI & DUSSOLIER.

  • Jason's rating of the film Mélo

    A decisive moment in the evolution of Alain Renais: Cinéaste. A whole spate of very fine projects spring Janus-like from the head of this one. It is here that Resnais turns his cinematogaph upon the theatre and artifice, producing pockets of total magic. His human figures become histrionic pawns, and in no subsequent film of his do the tragic and absurdocomic exist as such a sweet and intoxicating little doublet.

  • Francisco R.'s rating of the film Mélo

    Watching this film reminded me of an article about Scotland's oldest living woman, for whom the recipe of a long life is having "plenty of exercise, porridge and avoiding men", especially the neurotic ones like André Dussolier in this moving, sophisticated and beautiful work.

  • Lynch/Fellini's rating of the film Mélo

    Alain Resnais' film is another lovely tribute to theater, embracing its artifice and focus on actors- and here he has a quartet of great regulars!

  • FISCHER's rating of the film Mélo

    Une oeuvre théâtralisée très dense qui, par le biais d'un scénario mélodramatique transcendant, permet au metteur en scène Alain Resnais de commettre un excellent film d'ambiance et de réflexion sur la vie, l'amour et la mort...

  • lechecaducada's rating of the film Mélo

    Resnais con su particular percepción del mundo, interpreta una obra de teatro y nos entrega un cine de lo más fascinante, contado con simpleza y profundidad. Es evidente su escuela en esta película: un cine con una sensibilidad y espíritu que se gesta desde su colaboración con Duras, resultando un estilo compartido: intrigante y en este caso desgarrador. Sin duda es un interesante devenir del Año pasado en Marienbad.

  • antoniosavi's rating of the film Mélo

    Con uno script e degli attori così,non può che venirne fuori un film memorabile, l'archetipo del melodramma, del vaneggiare intorno a cose che non s'afferrano e che vorremmo eterne,

  • dan's rating of the film Mélo

    I have the feeling there is something Proust-ian in A.Resnais films such as affinity for details of life and how they affect mind and senses-such as the roses. #memory : the start and ending contain beautiful scenes remembering of the past #friendship F.Ardant in a no seductive role

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