EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|WILD GRASS (HERBES FOLLES, LES) (director: Alain Resnais; screenwriters: Alex Réval/Laurent Herbiet/based on the novel “L’Incident” by Christian Gailly; cinematographer: Eric Gautier; editor: Hervé de Luze; music: Mark Snow; cast: Sabine Azéma (Marguerite Muir), André Dussollier (Georges Palet), Anne Consigny (Suzanne), Emmanuelle Devos (Josépha), Mathieu Amalric (Bernard de Bordeaux, desk policeman), Michel Vuillermoz (Lucien d’Orange), Edouard Baer (narrator); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Jean-Louis Livi; Sony Pictures classics; 2009-France-in English and French with English subtitles)|
psychodrama that made me
laugh in the scenes that were meant to be serious and remain mute in
the scenes that were meant to be amusing."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Venerable 88-year-old French filmmaker Alain Resnais
("Providence"/"Muriel"/"Same Old Song") throws together a confounding psychodrama
that made me laugh in the scenes that were meant to be serious and
remain mute in the scenes that were meant to be amusing. Though I imagine Resnais's most devoted
fans would disagree with this assessment and welcome this pic as
another of the master filmmaker's enigmatic well-crafted masterpieces
even if it drowns itself in whimsy, presents an unbelievable
relationship that is even too much for a movie romance and becomes
superficial as a second-rate sexual farce. It's Resnais's
odd homage to the magic of romance in the movies. The director tells of
the film's male protagonist attending a showing of the oldie American
film on heroic Korean War flyers The Bridge at Toko-Ri (1954) and
afterwards meeting for the first time the woman he fell blindly in love
with, and after seeing the film is now hopeful his chaste relationship
with the heroine is possible.
insufferable character study and weak comedy, impressed those who give
prizes at Cannes and was nominated for a Golden Palm in in 2009 at
Cannes. Whatever those folks saw, I obviously didn't. I felt largely
put-off by a romantic story that seemed cutesie without the usual
rewards for viewing something so frothy.
The unseen all-knowing
narrator (Edouard Baer) leads the viewer through this adult fairy tale
Middle-aged, wealthy, dandy, auburn-red frizz
haired dentist Marguerite Muir (Sabine Azéma), a weekend aviatrix of a vintage Spitfire
and the director's muse, is mugged in the street while shopping for
shoes and her stolen red wallet is returned to the police station by Georges Palet (André Dussollier, the 65-year-old actor). The 50-year-old
Georges, a Walter Mitty like character, lives like a deranged king in
his spacious suburban
château with his beautiful and tolerant much younger wife of
thirty years, Suzanne (Anne
Consigny), who seems to have no
problem with hubby's flights of fancy or sexual dalliances or
unexplained criminal past. Both
Georges and Marguerite are piqued with
curiosity about each other,
and after a rough start navigating the polite social protocols of
meeting each other they find a strange way to meet and begin a puzzling
l'amour fou that
ends in tragedy--not unlike the one in The Bridge at Toko-Ri.
The visually pleasing and well-detailed movie plays out as an inside joke that misfires because it's so artificial and so unfunny (bogged down with plenty of irrelevant movie and literary referrals, and Freudian puns). It did not provide me with enough pain killers (pleasurable scenes) to ease the pain of sitting through such a misguided exercise in filmmaking.
REVIEWED ON 3/2/2011 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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