Alain Resnais

Alain Resnais (1922 - 2014)
(excerpts from  biography by M.B. WHITE and ROB EDELMAN, Film Director's Site)

"Alain Resnais is a prominent figure in the modernist narrative film tradition. His emergence as a feature director of international repute is affiliated with the eruption of the French New Wave in the late 1950s ... Resnais began making films as a youth in 8 and l6mm. In the early 1940s he studied acting and filmmaking, and after the war made a number of l6mm films, including a series about artists. His first film in 35mm was the 1948 short, Van Gogh, which won a number of international awards ... From 1948-58 Resnais made eight short films, of which Nuit et brouillard is probably the best known. The film deals with German concentration camps, juxtaposing past and present, exploring the nature of memory and history ... Resnais has always been interested in science fiction, the fantastic, and pulp adventure stories ...

Through editing and an emphasis on formal repetition, Resnais uses the medium to construct the conjunctions of past and present, fantasy and reality, insisting on the convergence of what are usually considered distinct domains of experience. ... The past's insistent invasion of the present is expressed in many different ways in Resnais's films ... In recent years, Resnais's presence on the international film scene barely has been noticed. While serious and provocative in intention, none of his films have measured up to his earlier work. However, in the early 1980s, he did direct two strikingly original films which are outstanding additions to his filmography ... Mon Oncle d'Amerique [and] La vie est un roman (Life Is a Bed of Roses) ...

Resnais's points are that there are no easy answers to complex dilemmas and, most tellingly, that individuals who attempt to dictate to others their concepts of perfection are as equally destructive as those whose actions result in outright chaos ... 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.

 

Highlights of Alain Resnais' Director Credits


Life of Riley - 2014
You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet - 2012
Smoking/No Smoking - 1993
Life is a Bed of Roses - 1983
My American Uncle - 1980
Providence - 1977
Stavisky - 1974
Je t'aime je t'aime - 1968
Muriel, or The Time of Return - 1963
Last Year at Marienbad - 1961
Hiroshima mon Amour - 1959
Night and Fog - 1955
Van Gogh - 1949