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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Muriel’, 11 August 2016

... One of the​ remarkable things about Alain Resnais’s film Muriel (1963), now released on Blu-Ray and DVD in a new print by Criterion, is that it doesn’t grow on you. It’s just as strange on a second or third viewing as on the first, and part of the reason is its cosy, well-dressed look. The characters wear fur-coats, silk scarves; they seem constantly on some sort of bourgeois parade – well, their hair gets ruffled when they are really upset – but almost nothing in their lives corresponds to this orderly image ...

Short Cuts

Joanna Biggs: Marguerite Duras, 6 October 2016

... thought, ought to be open to the outside: to her friends Georges Bataille and Maurice Blanchot, to Alain Resnais and Delphine Seyrig, to those who simply rang the bell on the rue Saint-Benoît, like the Italian journalist Leopoldina Pallotta della Torre. (It helped that she had brought a hunk of Parmesan; it was noon, the 73-year-old had just got up, and ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Saint Omer’, 2 March 2023

... the relevant scenes from Pasolini’s film of that name. Earlier we attend a lecture she gives on Alain Resnais and Marguerite Duras’s Hiroshima mon amour, where she says that its mode is not realism but a ‘sublimation of the real’. This is all intelligent, interesting stuff but comes to seem too clear and too abstract to Rama, lost among the pain ...

It wasn’t a dream

Ned Beauman: Christopher Priest, 10 October 2013

The Adjacent 
by Christopher Priest.
Gollancz, 432 pp., £12.99, June 2013, 978 0 575 10536 2
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... Bioy Casares’s novel, The Invention of Morel (1940), has a similarly silly ending, but when Alain Resnais and Alain Robbe-Grillet took a similar story as the basis for Last Year at Marienbad they excised the futuristic gadgetry, presenting the same events with no mundane underpinning. Even memory can make such ...

Ciné, ma vérité

Emilie Bickerton: The films of Chris Marker, 20 April 2006

Chris Marker: Memories of the Future 
by Catherine Lupton.
Reaktion, 256 pp., £14.95, October 2004, 1 86189 223 3
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... the age of thirty he had published poetry, short stories, a number of articles and a novel. With Alain Resnais, he made Les Statues meurent aussi (1953) and the ground-breaking Nuit et brouillard (1955); he then became a major figure in the French short film industry of the 1950s and 1960s, pioneering a new genre, ‘the essay-film’, in a series of ...

Mon Charabia

Olivier Todd: Bad Duras, 4 March 1999

Marguerite Duras 
by Laure Adler.
Gallimard, 627 pp., frs 155, August 1998, 2 07 074523 6
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No More 
by Marguerite Duras.
Seven Stories, 203 pp., £10.99, November 1998, 1 888363 65 7
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... MD’s gift for dialogue pushed her towards plays and films, where she was best served by Alain Resnais. In 1959 they worked on Hiroshima mon amour and in 1961 on L’Année dernière à Marienbad, which restated MD’s familiar obsessions – with mysterious sequences leading to the heart of ‘the human predicament’, with unattainable ...

E Bada!

Rye Dag Holmboe: What Isou Did to Language, 21 July 2022

Speaking East: The Strange and Enchanted Life of Isidore Isou 
by Andrew Hussey.
Reaktion, 328 pp., £20, September 2021, 978 1 78914 492 5
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... d’éternité won the Prix de l’avant-garde when it was shown at Cannes and found admirers in Alain Resnais, Chris Marker and Jean-Luc Godard.Like​ Antonin Artaud before him, Isou lived his art. He also paid the price for it. In Hussey’s account he emerges as a man always on the brink. As his disciples betrayed him and his movement ...

I resume and I sum up

John Sturrock: Robbe Grillet’s Return, 21 March 2002

La Reprise 
by Alain Robbe-Grillet.
Minuit, 253 pp., €15.09, November 2001, 9782707317568
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... now begun to make films – the first, L’Année dernière à Marienbad of 1960, was made with Alain Resnais, whose restraining hand is said to have kept Robbe-Grillet within decorous bounds, which were energetically overstepped in the films that followed – Robbe-Grillet was determined to make the most of the greater licence in respect of reality ...


Michael Wood, 17 December 1992

The Art of Cinema 
by Jean Cocteau, André Bernard and Claude Gauteur, translated by Robin Buss.
Marion Boyars, 224 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 7145 2947 8
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Jean Renoir: A Life in Pictures 
by Célia Bertin, translated by Mireille Muellner and Leonard Muellner.
Johns Hopkins, 403 pp., £20.50, August 1991, 0 8018 4184 4
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Jean Renoir: Projections of Paradise 
by Ronald Bergan.
Bloomsbury, 378 pp., £25, October 1992, 0 7475 0837 2
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Malle on Malle 
edited by Philip French.
Faber, 236 pp., £14.99, January 1993, 0 571 16237 1
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Republic of Images: A History of French Film-Making 
by Alan Williams.
Harvard, 458 pp., £39.95, April 1992, 0 674 76267 3
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... Ronet, trapped in a lift for the duration of the same film; of the frozen, bewildered lovers in Resnais’s Hiroshima mon amour, 1959, and L’ Année dernière à Marienbad, 1961; of the boy staring at the ocean at the end of Truffaut’s Les Quatre Cent Coups, 1959; of the calm but trapped face of Marina Vlady in Godard’s Deux ou trois choses que je ...

Karel Reisz Remembered

LRB Contributors, 12 December 2002

... always coming to see Karel. I remember the doorbell rang and I opened it and standing there was Alain Resnais. He was carrying a very high, very narrow suitcase, and he wheeled it into the kitchen and we all sat down and had coffee. Eventually, I had to ask him what was in the suitcase, and he opened it and there it was: tin after tin of baked beans to ...

Like Colonel Sanders

Christopher Tayler: The Stan Lee Era, 2 December 2021

True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee 
by Abraham Riesman.
Bantam, 320 pp., £20, February, 978 0 593 13571 6
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Stan Lee: A Life in Comics 
by Liel Leibovitz.
Yale, 192 pp., £16.99, June 2020, 978 0 300 23034 5
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... the problems of the day on any chat show that would have him. Fellini visited the Marvel office. Alain Resnais proposed a collaboration.Goodman, who made it clear that he felt comics ‘were only really read by very, very young children or stupid adults’, was happy for Lee to have his moment. Kirby, a gruff workaholic, and Ditko, a touchy ...

Quite a Night!

Michael Wood: Eyes Wide Shut, 30 September 1999

Eyes Wide Open: A Memoir of Stanley Kubrik and ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ 
by Frederic Raphael.
Orion, 186 pp., £12.99, July 1999, 0 7528 1868 6
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Dream Story 
by Arthur Schnitzler, translated by J.M.Q. Davies.
Penguin, 99 pp., £5.99, July 1999, 0 14 118224 5
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... different time zones. Kubrick knows this as well as Billy Wilder did in Sunset Boulevard or Alain Resnais did in Last Year at Marienbad. In Killer’s Kiss, Kubrick has his heroine narrate her whole miserable life story over an image which simply shows a solitary ballet dancer in performance – she is the heroine’s envied and unhappy sister ...

Time after Time

Stanley Cavell, 12 January 1995

... name here, three films it happens, were released: Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night, the Alain Resnais/Marguerite Duras Hiroshima, Mon Amour and Antonioni’s L’Avventura – each associated with a question about whether something new might happen (Samuel Beckett’s Godot and Endgame were still new), shadowed by the question whether love is ...

After the Movies

Michael Wood: Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma, 4 December 2008

Histoire(s) du cinéma 
directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
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... of his own films in relation to the work of selected classic directors: Lang, Dreyer, Minnelli, Resnais, Rossellini, Eisenstein. Certainly all of these directors recur in Histoire(s), as do many of Godard’s own long-serving ideas. But the form is different: an intense and intricate video essay that looks forward (or across) to Chris Marker’s Immemory ...

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