After watching all the Chris Marker movies I could get my hands on, I commemorated with an inventory post – then did the same with Jacques Rivette. I meant to follow with Alain Resnais, who I’ve been writing about since the early months of the blog, but was never sure when I was done. By the time of his great You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet I had only one feature left to watch, then I caught up with the Visits and Portraits, saw his final film Life of Riley soon after he died, and finally finished watching his features a year later with the great Same Old Song. But then I held off until I could find L’an 01, then I was looking for subtitles for Le mystère de l’atelier quinze, and there are multiple new documentaries on Marienbad, and I need to rewatch Muriel sometime, etc. So, here are a couple new things I found to watch, and a Resnais Roundup:
Le Mystere de l’atelier quinze (1957, Resnais & Heinrich)
Those subtitles finally appeared! Factory worker Renard feels weak and has a noise in his head, so the occupational doctor springs into action, coordinates with medical professionals, government committees, the factory foreman, coworkers and Renard’s family, and gets to the bottom of the issue, improving factory safety so Renard and others can stay healthy and happy. It’s all depressingly utopian after seeing the modern reality in American Factory.
More of an industrial film than the Resnais factory and library shorts – again, voiceover with no direct sound. Some long Night & Fog camera tracking.
Factory Man (cropped):
Codirected by Alain Resnais. Credited director André Heinrich wasn’t prolific – looks like he was assistant to Resnais on Night & Fog, then vice versa here. He later worked on Chronicle of a Summer and appeared in La Jetée.
The whole early new-wave gang is here. Cinematographers Ghislain Cloquet (Night & Fog) and Sacha Vierny (Hiroshima Mon Amour), music by Pierre Barbaud (La Pointe Courte) conducted by Georges Delerue (Jules and Jim), Written by Chris Marker with Rémo Forlani (Toute la mémoire du monde). Also credited is “Fearless Fosdick,” who is impossible to google since the name is stolen from a Li’l Abner character.
Last Year at Marienbad, A to Z (2019, James Quandt)
An hour-long exploration of things within and around the Resnais/Robbe-Grillet feature, and a good opportunity to revisit scenes, since I haven’t watched the film since the SD-DVD days.
Resnais “insisted from the very beginning of the project that he wanted a foreign accent for the film’s narrator, to ensure that his voiceover would not be misinterpreted as merely internal monologue.”
Surprisingly, it ends on the director of La Flor, which I was just about to start watching.
Major Resnais Films:
1953 – Statues Also Die
1955 – Night and Fog
1959 – Hiroshima Mon Amour
1961 – Last Year at Marienbad
1963 – Muriel
1966 – The War Is Over
1968 – Je t’aime, je t’aime
1974 – Stavisky
1977 – Providence
1980 – Mon Oncle d’Amerique
1983 – La Vie est un roman
1984 – Love Unto Death
1986 – Melo
1993 – Smoking / No Smoking
1997 – Same Old Song
2003 – Not on the Lips
2006 – Coeurs
2009 – Wild Grass
2012 – You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet
2014 – Life of Riley
Additional Features and Shorts:
1947 – Visits & Portraits
1948 – Van Gogh
1950 – Gauguin
1951 – Guernica
1956 – Toute la Memoire du Monde
1957 – Le Mystere de l’atelier quinze (above)
1958 – Le Chante du Styrene
1967 – Far From Vietnam
1968 – Cinetracts
1973 – L’An 01
1989 – I Want To Go Home (sorry)
1991 – Against Oblivion
1993 – Gershwin
Jonathan Rosenbaum, 1988:
Resnais is … quite possibly the French director who has been most frequently and unjustly maligned in this country. Despite the fact that he has substantially revised his form and style for each of his eleven features to date, working with a total of eight separate writers, his films share an emotional purity, a visual elegance, and a rhythmic grace that together constitute a recognizable signature. And his central preoccupations — memory, loss, love, death, and desire — have remained more or less constant. The problems he has posed for American aesthetes appear to have been equally constant.
Resnais, 2009: “I want to make films that describe the imaginary.”