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Muriel, or the Time of Return (1963)

Muriel ou le temps d'un retour (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 13 March 2007 (USA)
In the seacoast town of Boulogne, Hélène sells antique furniture, living with her step-son, Bernard, who's back from military duty in Algiers. An old lover of Hélène's comes to visit - ... See full summary »

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(scenario and dialogue)
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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Hélène Aughain
Jean-Pierre Kérien ...
Alphonse Noyard
Nita Klein ...
Françoise
Jean-Baptiste Thiérrée ...
Bernard Aughain (as Jean-Baptiste Thierrée)
Claude Sainval ...
Roland de Smoke
Laurence Badie ...
Claudie
Jean Champion ...
Ernest
...
L'homme à la chèvre / The Goat Man
Martine Vatel ...
Marie-Dominique, aka Marie-Do
Julien Verdier ...
Le loueur de chevaux / The Stableman
...
Robert
Nelly Borgeaud ...
La femme du couple d'acheteurs
Catherine de Seynes ...
Angèle
Gaston Joly ...
Antoine, le tailleur / Antoine the Tailor
Gérard Lorin ...
Marc
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Storyline

In the seacoast town of Boulogne, Hélène sells antique furniture, living with her step-son, Bernard, who's back from military duty in Algiers. An old lover of Hélène's comes to visit - Alphonse - with his niece Françoise; he too is back from Algiers, where he ran a café. Bernard speaks of his fiancée, Muriel, whom Hélène has not met. The narrative, like memory and intention, is jumpy, the past obscured by guilt, misperceptions, and missed possibilities. Appearances deceive, things change. As Hélène and Alphonse try to sort out a renewal, everyone seems off-kilter just enough to hint that all cannot end well. Can anyone know another? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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From Alain Resnais, Creator of "Hiroshima Mon Amour" and "Last Year at Marienbad" See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

13 March 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Muriel, or the Time of Return  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When polled by the AFI filmmaker Randa Haines named "Muriel" as her all-time favorite film. See more »

Connections

References La femme du bout du monde (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Dejà
By Paul Colline and Paul Maye
(RAOUL BRETON éditions)
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User Reviews

 
One of the greatest films ever made; better than both 'Hiroshima Mon Amor' and 'Last Year At Marienbad;' Demands multiple viewings; difficult but ultimately magnificent and supremely satisfying
3 August 2000 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

The first time I saw 'Muriel' (it was, for years, extremely hard to find on video and only one video store carried it even in movie mecca L.A.) I was completely confounded by it. The radical presentation of the ordinary characters in the context of their transcendent thoughts and memories seemed to be uninteresting and bland, precisely because I hadn't thought of its connections to the universal. I didn't think it warranted any closer attention. But I knew there was something there I was uncomfortable with, I knew I had to come back to this film sometime and reassess it.

Needless to say, I am glad I made that reassessment because this is such an amazingly satisfying film, once all the pieces of the puzzle come togeher in your head in their subtle details. It is nearly flawless in conception and execution and has to be one of the supreme works of art this century. It works on more levels than any other film I can think of, even 'Pierrot Le Fou' and '8-1/2.' The difference is, almost all of it is hidden at first sight. You definitely have to pay UNDIVIDED ATTENTION and CONCENTRATE to start with, especially if you're reading the subtitles in English. Every word is there for a purpose and every shot counts. I'd suggest that you watch it (thank god it is now available on video and at such a reasonable price)at the bare minimum 3 times before you even presume to make a judgment. Here are only a few of the things I like about 'Muriel:' It is a thriller with many comic elements that ultimately becomes a sublime tragedy of modern existence. It has superb 'realism' in acting to beautifully contrast with what it's really about: the transcendent aspects of life such as memory and the way it and they (the other aspects) affect the present. The beautiful faded-tone, color photography is psychologically calculated (a definite influence on 'Red Desert') for effect and just indescribably poetic. The virtuoso, quick cutting in the middle section is completely chronological in nature but elegantly provides multiple perspectives without distorting things with unnecessary length (since all these things are going on pretty much at the same time).

I cannot recommend this film highly enough for anyone interested in great cinema.


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