Alain Resnais

Alain Resnais (French Film Directors) by Emma Wilson

In Alain Resnais, author Emma Wilson presents an incisive and comprehensive analysis of Resnais’s recurring themes of memory, plasticity, construction, and fragmentation. By placing contemporary history within the broader context of capturing internal states and subjective reality, Wilson proposes a means of reconciling Resnais’s more experimental, overtly political postwar films (through the 1960s) with his… read more »

Alain Resnais by James Monaco

In the book Alain Resnais, James Monaco seeks to demystify the prevalent notion of the filmmaker’s body of work as being purely “intellectual”, arguing that the perceived inscrutability of his films stems more as a result of the absence of familiar, accessible emotional “codes” rather than his realization of abstruse intellectualism. To this end, Monaco… read more »

Les Herbes folles (Wild Grass), 2009

Revisiting the shifting perspective, stream of consciousness narrative of Providence, Alain Resnais’s Les Herbes folles is a more whimsical variation on the themes of subjective reality and causality. An early image of wild grass poking through cracks in the concrete provides a paradigm for the film’s seemingly organic tale of subverted expectation: a middle-aged man… read more »

Cœurs, 2006

There is an early survey of the interiors of a vacant Bercy apartment at the opening sequence of Cœurs that immediately evokes early Alain Resnais in the recurring theme of architectural memory, as the camera pans to the majestic domed ceiling of a converted building, artificially bisected by a superfluous wall constructed for the sole… read more »

Pas sur la bouche (Not on the Lips), 2003

Resnais continues in the direction of his affectionate re-adaptation of early twentieth century French burlesque comedies (most notably, Mélo) in Not on the Lips, a faithful (which unfortunately, includes all the stereotypical and derogatory gibes at Americans), accessibly entertaining, technically accomplished, but hollow musical adaptation of the 1925 operetta by André Barde and Maurice Yvain…. read more »

Stavinsky, 1974

On an idyllic summer day in 1933, a lone car traverses around the bend of a narrow gravel road along the side of a hill, stopping at a scenic overlook alongside the deserted coastline as three unidentified, college-aged spectators anxiously follow the course of a sparsely occupied motorboat through a pair of binoculars as it… read more »

Je t’aime, je t’aime, 1968

A group of scientists anxiously await word for a despondent, melancholic patient named Claude Ridder (Claude Rich) to regain consciousness at an unidentified hospital, where he is gradually recuperating from a gunshot wound resulting from an attempted suicide, in order to approach him on an ambiguous proposal to participate in a short duration human time… read more »

La Guerre est finie, 1966

A world-weary, career resistance operative and Spanish exile using the alias Diego Mora (Yves Montand) arrives at a customs checkpoint on the French-Spanish border on a quiet Easter Sunday en route to an unspecified assignment and begins to rehearse his cover story with the driver, a bookstore owner and revolution sympathizer named Jude (Dominique Rozan)…. read more »

Muriel, 1963

Muriel opens with a seemingly idiosyncratic series of fragmented images, as a client stands in the doorway of an antique dealer, Helene’s (Delphine Seyrig) apartment to provide specific details on her furniture request. Oddly, the client specifies that she does not want anything “old fashioned”. Helene is a widow, anxiously awaiting the arrival of her… read more »

Last Year at Marienbad, 1961

Similar to Alain Resnais’ previous film Hiroshima mon amour, Last Year at Marienbad begins with a postulate of memory and perspective. A handsome stranger, X (Giorgio Albertazzi) encounters an alluring socialite, A (Delphine Seyrig) at a grand, baroque hotel and, captivated by her, attempts to convince the reluctant object of his desire that they have… read more »