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Wild Grass

For those who like the tone of their films to be reflected in the hairstyles of their lead actors, the wayward shock of auburn-red frizz worn by Sabine Azéma in ‘Wild Grass’ is a good first step to unravelling this joyfully skittish farce from 88-year-old maestro Alain Resnais. Combining the verbose theatrical games of his ’80s films with the time, space and character manipulations of early classics such as ‘Last Year at Marienbad’, ‘Wild Grass’ also feels like Resnais’s ode to something like ‘Twin Peaks’ – a work which is inviting and gentle on the surface but inscrutable and strange the more you look at it.

It’s based on a surreal novel by French author Christian Gailly called ‘L’Incident’ and details the fallout of a preposterous romance that forms between antisocial house husband Georges Palet (André Dussollier) and dentist-cum-budding aviatrix, Marguerite Muir (Azéma) when her purse is snatched and he recovers it. Every frame is filled with blushed neon hues that look like they’ve been filmed through a smear of Vaseline. The kinetic camera hovers and glides around scenes, at one point even leaping over the top of a house. These stylistic elements –  along with a dainty, midi-jazz score – lend the film a dreamlike quality. What’s it all about, though? It could be everything and nothing. There are allusions to psychosis, chaos, reincarnation, anxiety, communication and even the romanticised nature of cinema itself. It’s cheeky and confident, maybe one of the director’s finest, and its loopy final line is the cryptic cherry on this oddball gâteau.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday June 18 2010
Duration: 104 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Alain Resnais
Cast: Sabine Azéma
André Dussollier
Anne Consigny
Emmanuelle Devos

Average User Rating

2.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:2
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rb

In all the reviews I've read on Wild Grass, no one talks about the "unreliable narrator." This convention is used widely in fiction, and now (in addition to films like A Beautiful Mind) we have several unreliable narrators in Wild Grass. If you frame the film in this way, you'll begin to see how Resnais, at 88, is a cinematic genius. All the little nuances in dialogue, character, set design and mis-en-scene come to play in this "story" of characters who are all mentally unstable. As a result, the "plot" unfolds jumping from one narrator to the next, from one warped point of view to another. Until even the end, when we're still not sure who's been telling this "story." Renais manages to subvert the dominant story-telling framework of hollywood and even to poke fun at it by repeating "fin" (the end) over and over again over the not-so-subtle kiss at the end. He's making fun of all of conventional cinema, and no one gets the joke! Take your heads out of your #$@ and think about the film for a second, instead of dismissing it because you don't understand it right away. Where are the insightful, thoughtful reviewers?! See it again, and you'll see what I mean.

rb

In all the reviews I've read on Wild Grass, no one talks about the "unreliable narrator." This convention is used widely in fiction, and now (in addition to films like A Beautiful Mind) we have several unreliable narrators in Wild Grass. If you frame the film in this way, you'll begin to see how Resnais, at 88, is a cinematic genius. All the little nuances in dialogue, character, set design and mis-en-scene come to play in this "story" of characters who are all mentally unstable. As a result, the "plot" unfolds jumping from one narrator to the next, from one warped point of view to another. Until even the end, when we're still not sure who's been telling this "story." Renais manages to subvert the dominant story-telling framework of hollywood and even to poke fun at it by repeating "fin" (the end) over and over again over the not-so-subtle kiss at the end. He's making fun of all of conventional cinema, and no one gets the joke! Take your heads out of your #$@ and think about the film for a second, instead of dismissing it because you don't understand it right away. Where are the insightful, thoughtful reviewers?! See it again, and you'll see what I mean.

Pif

There is a French film called Zero de Conduite - a phrase which sums this film up nicely. I thought the French had grown out of this sort of pseudo garbage in the sixties. Let's alienate the aidience by making the film completely pointless, but drop in the odd coherent detail to encourage them to waste the whole two hours. Utter tosh. I used to rate M. Resnais, but not no longer mate!

tony e

Just returned from the Richmond Filmhouse after seeing this bizarre film. I'm sure I wasn't the on;y person in the cinema whose lip mouthed the letters WTF? when Fin appeared on screen for the second time. and WTF? is the feeling that remains with me, Oh yeah,that and "Only in France". Weird man!