Not the easiest of Resnais films, but certainly his wittiest exploration of the vagaries of memory (teasingly set in Boulogne, a city largely lost under post-war urban developments). A spellbinding mosaic of images preserving, destroying, falsifying or testifying to the past, it sets two attitudes in opposition. A woman (Seyrig) attempts to ward off present tedium by conjuring the memory of her first love. Her stepson (Thierrée), treasuring some film of an atrocity he witnessed in Algeria in which a girl called Muriel was tortured to death, is determined to allow no escape from actuality. What both forget is that things change, that memory must feed on reality and vice versa. If her remembered love proves disappointingly remote from actuality, so his celluloid actuality turns out to need memory to bring it alive again. Impasse.
Cast and crew