4 items from 2010
Chicago – There’s a very good reason why casual moviegoers are weary of films purporting themselves to be avant-garde. Such a term seems to suggest that a level of effort is required from the audience to fully digest and enjoy a particular work of cinematic art. They are the opposite of disposable entertainments devoured by mainstream viewers like escapist munchies.
In fact, the word “munchies” functions prominently in the jaw-dropping, hotly debated final moment of “Wild Grass,” the latest film from 88-year-old master of cinema, Alain Resnais. The last thing on this filmmaker’s mind is box office results. His greatest wish is merely to inspire audience debate. His most well-known and influential efforts (1959’s “Hiroshima mon amour” and 1961’s “Last Year at Marienbad”) have proven that cinema has the potential to be as complex, as rich, and as widely open to interpretation as literature. He doesn’t care if »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Like the 102-year-old Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira, the 88-year-old Alain Resnais gets a lot of publicity mileage out of staying active in his old age. While seniority hardly necessitates critical leniency, the most impressive aspect of "Wild Grass," Resnais's twenty-fifth directorial effort, comes from its energetic youthfulness. Adapting Christian Gailly's novel "L'Incident," Resnais employs a series of endearingly playful, almost juvenile stylistic methods. By capitalizing on zany visual flourishes, he »
Old age is always faintly unnerving. Although, at 88, Alain Resnais isn't by any means the most venerable of active film-makers, it's still hard to credit that the film I've come to Paris to talk to him about – Wild Grass, an authentic surrealist romance, as far from being geriatric in style as it's possible to imagine – was made by this elegant, eloquent gentleman sitting opposite me at the Hôtel Claridge, near the Champs Elysées.
I last met Resnais a couple of decades ago, and he has remained much as I remembered: the superb mane of snow-white hair, flaming red shirt, tightly knotted black tie and trademark white trainers. All that's missing is a viewfinder dangling on his pullover, as nonchalantly as a monocle. »
- Gilbert Adair
This latest film by the 88-year-old French New Wave master Alain Resnais, adapted from the 1996 novel L'Incident by Christian Gailly, is another occasion to ruminate on the nature of late style – among other things. Having first seen it at last year's Cannes film festival, and now a second time for its British release, my main feeling remains mystification, perhaps not so much at the film itself as the attendant eager critical consensus that this is a tremendous piece of work and that the director has returned to form. It looked and looks to me like an eccentrically stately and sporadically interesting misfire, a kind of farce in slo-mo, a comedy of inconsequence whose stageyness, datedness and lack of inner life are camouflaged by quirks and tics, moments »
- Peter Bradshaw
4 items from 2010
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