Odile is looking for a new, bigger apartment. Her younger sister Camille just completed her doctoral thesis has fallen in love with an estate agent who is responsible for Odile's apartment ... See full summary »
Elisabeth and Simon have been deeply in love for two months when Simon momentarily dies, but comes back to life. Simon does not want any further medical tests, but the couple are forced to ... See full summary »
Joey Wellman, a cantankerous American cartoonist, accepts an invitation to come to an exhibition in Paris, because his estranged daughter Elsie is a student there. He arrives with his ... See full summary »
Three intertwined tales. On the eve of the First World War, Count Forbek starts to build a fantastic castle in the Ardennes forest. After the war he uses it to start a utopian society by ... See full summary »
In Paris in the 1920s, a concert violinist meets and falls in love with a stylish young flapper who's the wife of an old friend. Romaine instigates the affair with Marcel, and carries it ... See full summary »
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 »
Life of Riley was, of course, the last film directed by Alain Resnais who died just over one month ago and is not only a shining example of French Cinema but also the most succinct illustration I know of that the much praised and highly overrated New Wave was merely a ripple unworthy of note. Resnais, who began as an 'experimental' filmmaker at roughly the same time as the faux 'movement' was hailed by the new waveleteers as one of their own but quickly disassociated himself by turning out a highly accomplished and vastly entertaining string of mainstream movies of which Life of Riley is as good an example as any. Like 90% per cent of his films it could have been shot at virtually any time between the coming of Sound and the late nineteen fifties or, to put it another way, that minor hiccup circa 1958-1962 changed nothing. For a third time - and he was working on a fourth at the time of his death - Resnais turned to the work of English playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourne for his source material and once we set aside the bizarre aspects of translating an English text into French, have French actors play French-speaking English characters and then, via subtitles, translate the text back into an English bearing little or no relationship to the actual text performed in English theatres we are left with a fine swansong from a great filmmaker. The plot, as it often does in Ayckbourne's work, revolves around three couples and - in this case - their reaction to the news that a seventh friend, George Riley, is terminally ill though I feel sure that Mr. Ayckbourne would be the last person to claim credit for originating the time-honoured 'offstage' eponymous character who, in living memory only, can be traced back to 1935 and Clifford Odets' breakthrough One-Act drama Waiting For Lefty, which in turn spawned Edward, My Son, to say nothing of Beckett's Waiting For Godard - To Make A Decent Film. Sorry about that but it was, of course irresistible. Suffice it to say that Resnais regular (and long-time real-life partner) Sabine Azema, leads a fine ensemble, not least fellow Resnais regular Andre Dussollier, through a highly enjoyable, vastly entertaining film from an iconic figure in French Cinema.
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