Monday, March 3, 2014


Ironically enough I had just been re-visiting films such as LAST YEAR AT MARIENDBAD (1961) and TOUTE LA MEMOIRE DU MONDE (1956) when I read about Resnais' death at 91.  While he began his film output as a documentarian,  his early and most highly regarded (or denigrated) films seemed to be intellectual puzzles or meditations on memory,  loss,  and how one deal's with that forfeiture.  Drama and sentimentality are replaced by formal concerns here, but this detachment only served to punctuate the mystery,  poetry, and beauty contained within. And while Resnais' art was often calculated and highly composed,  the raw power of his documentary NIGHT AND FOG (1955) may be the most intensely raw open wound about the Holocaust. His opinion that memory is often a stumbling block to living in the present found life in HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR (1959),  where lovers (one French,  the other Japanese) struggle with images and emotions brought on by the horrors of war. These films very much invented a new filmic language,  one that was less concerned with narrative and more possessed with simultaneously grasping and letting go of time.  Watch. 

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