Alain Resnais

"An impeccable formalist, Resnais is probably the single most important director to emerge from the ranks of the French Nouvelle Vague. Although he has relied on collaboration with writers in all his films, he is considered an auteur by critics subscribing to the theory, because of his consistent adherence to distinctive themes and the highly personal technique he has developed." - The Macmillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1994

Alain Resnais

Director / Editor
(1922-2014) Born June 3, Vannes, Morbihan, France
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: France, Italy, Switzerland
Key Genres: Drama, Psychological Drama, Ensemble Film, Comedy of Manners, Romantic Drama, Short Films, Avant-garde/Experimental, Documentary, Comedy Drama, Period Film, Romantic Comedy, Musical Comedy
Key Collaborators: Jacques Saulnier (Production Designer), Sabine Azema (Leading Actress), Pierre Arditi (Leading Actor), Sacha Vierny (Cinematographer), Albert Jurgenson (Editor), Andre Dussollier (Leading Character Actor), Herve de Luze (Editor), Fanny Ardant (Leading Actress), Jean Gruault (Screenwriter), Pierre Braunberger (Producer), Philippe Dussart (Producer), Bruno Pésery (Producer)

"Resnais, though often associated with the New Wave, is distinguished from the typical New Wave directors by his willingness to efface himself through the adaptation of works by other writers, and by his highly intellectualized approach. His major films from the late 1950s and 1960s include Hiroshima mon amour, with a script by Marguerite Duras, and Last Year at Marienbad, produced in collaboration with Alain Robbe-Grillet, starring the cult actress Delphine Seyrig, and with costumes by Coco Chanel… Resnais has continued to make interesting films into his eighties, but his reputation rests primarily on his uncompromisingly modernist works under the nouvelle vague umbrella in the period from 1959 to 1966." - Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, 2007
"Resnais's filmic output has been relatively small. He nonetheless stands as a significant figure in modernist cinema. His strategies of fragmented point-of-view and multiple temporality, as well as his use of the medium to convey past/present and fantasy/imagination/reality as equivocal and equivalent modes of experience have amplified our understanding of film's capacity for expression." - M.B. White (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 1991)
"Resnais has made fifteen feature films in forty years, and has confessed sometimes to wondering where a next picture might come from. Is this sparseness the result of an uncompromisingly difficult artistic personality or does Resnais pursue complexity at the expense of self-expression? It is all very well to claim that Resnais is dedicated to the immense subjects of time and memory, and then adopt his rather pusillanimous defenses of his own films." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"A leading figure in the development of a modernist cinema, Alain Resnais seems recently to have retreated further into an hermetic artiness that takes little account of the demands of the popular audience. In dealing repeatedly with the effect of memory and the imagination upon human passions, his intellectual, near-abstract approach to plot and character counteracts emotional involvement." - Geoff Andrew (The Film Handbook, 1989)
"One of the most consistently interesting auteurs of French cinema, Resnais was making short films as early as 1936... Resnais' interest in social and political issues, his modernist concerns and drawing on serious literature (rather than pulp fiction) set him apart from other New Wave directors right from his first feature, Hiroshima mon amour (1959)." - Ginette Vincendeau (Encyclopedia of European Cinema, 1995)
"Resnais is a cubist. I mean that he is the first modern filmmaker of the sound film." - Eric Rohmer
"Themes of time and memory haunt this director's brilliant career, with the individual consciousness the dictator of his narratives, rather than the traditionally uninterrupted beginning, middle, and end. Resnais' films flow from one association to another, yet are not as inaccessible as might be expected. The human being is his subject, and that accounts for the beauty, strength, and empathy in his quilted stories." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"I never had any special appetite for filmmaking, but you have to make a living and it is miraculous to earn a living working in film." - Alain Resnais
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Night and Fog (1955) , Le Chant du Styrène (1958), Muriel (1963)
Recommended
Hiroshima mon amour (1959) , Mon oncle d'Amérique (1980)
Worth a Look
Guernica (1950), Statues Also Die (1953) [co-directed by Chris Marker], Toute la mémoire du monde (1956), Last Year at Marienbad (1961) , La Guerre est Finie (1966), Je t'aime, je t'aime (1968), Stavisky (1974), Providence (1977) , L'Amour à Mort (1984), Mélo (1986), Smoking/No Smoking (1993), Same Old Song (1997), Private Fears in Public Places (2006), Wild Grass (2009)
Approach with Caution
Loin du Vietnam (1967) [also directed by Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, Agnès Varda, Jean-Luc Godard & Chris Marker], Life is a Bed of Roses (1983), Not on the Lips (2003)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Hiroshima mon amour
    comments powered by Disqus