Sunday, March 2, 2014

Alain Resnais - RIP

Right before the Oscar telecast comes another major blow to the world of film. Alain Resnais has died. He was 91 years old.

The French auteur was widely known for his unconventional narrative structures that often surround the idea of memory, radical editing techniques, and his later deconstructive takes on modern theater. Film students and scholars of course will be well aware of his major contributions: Night and Fog, the 1955 groundbreaking short documentary about the Nazi concentration camps, which haunts the viewer with cold dolly sweeps of the camps in the present while making shockingly quick cuts to b&w archival photos; Hiroshima Mon Amour, the 1959 influential film that juxtaposes an internal doc about the dropping of the atomic bomb and the consequences of its survivors with the main story of a troubled relationship between a French woman and a Japanese man; and finally, Last Year at Marienbad, the 1961 surrealist love story between a man who remembers a fleeting affair and a woman who has no recollection, all the while a party for the rich is going on, where its patrons stubbornly dismiss to move beyond their statuses or stop their thirst of playing a matchstick game.

Resnais was one of the few remaining film artists who refused to let his advanced age prevent him from crafting his thoughts. He made big splashes in the past recently with Wild Grass and last year's You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet! His latest film Life of Riley literally just made its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, winning him the Alfred Bauer Prize.

He will sorely be missed.

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