Hélène, 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. One the most powerful classics in Alain Resnais’ work.
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Essential cinema. Resnais followed up "Hiroshima' and 'Marienbad' with this puzzle box of a tale that examined lies, complicity and self delusion. Script by Jean Cayrol only provides the puzzle pieces and Resnais through clever editing and design lets the viewer put together the end result. Fascinating and complex film featuring stellar turns by Delphine Seyrig and Jean-Pierre Kerien. One of the director's best.
The most defensible reason we lie is married to the most common reason we tell stories: to make reality coherent. Resnais' third film is his most fastidious thus far into his career in terms of marrying its radical form to its message. Being in the world is chaos. War is a metaphor. War is life. War is time. Time is in fact here a kind of shrapnel. But the present. The present is even more chaotic than the past.
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.
SEYRIG et le pédant Trucmuche, son beau-fils Machin et l'autre Machinette, tout 1 petit monde aussi poussiéreux que sa maison magasin d'antiquités. OK il y a 15 % d'intensité dramatique de RENAIS l'auteur. Mais dans l'ensemble, quel ennui.=== SEYRIG & her pedantic ex-flame, her stepson & the other girl, a little world as dusty as her antique shop house. OK there is 15% of dramatic intensity. But overall, what a drag.
La fragmentation s'impose à tous les niveaux : dans les dialogues, dans les souvenirs des personnages, dans le montage... Ce procédé reflète - dans une "union du fond et de la forme" - des fractures psychologiques qui ne prennent sens qu'assez tardivement. Bien sûr, Resnais est habile dans son formalisme inconfortable. Il aurait tout de même gagné à se montrer plus concis et moins systématique... (3,5 / 5)