Wild Grass

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The NYFF’s opening-night selection traces the ripple effect that occurs after a woman’s purse is stolen, but that barely scratches the surface of director Alain Resnais’s masterpiece. Psychodrama, sex farce, tragedy, comedy—Wild Grass is all these things, though at heart it’s a profoundly revealing game of one-upmanship between dentist-aviatrix Marguerite Muir (Sabine Azma) and seemingly contented suburbanite Georges Palet (Andr Dussollier). Marguerite holds the cards for the film’s first half, in which she is stalked by an increasingly obsessed Georges. Then their roles are reversed after they finally meet outside a cinema playing the 1954 William Holden--Grace Kelly Korean War drama, The Bridges at Toko-Ri. From there, the film gets more and more bizarre, growing in intensity even as it becomes progressively (and sublimely) ridiculous. Wild Grass is just as playful as Resnais’s famed head-scratcher, Last Year at Marienbad (1961), but his latest is even more worldly and wise. It also has the final scene of the year—you’ll be giggling about “cat munchies” for a long time after. Friday, Sept 25 at 10pm—Keith Uhlich

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New York Film Festival 2009

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