Browsed by
Author: admin

8 1/2 (1963)

8 1/2 (1963)

“I really have nothing to say — but I want to say it all the same.”

Synopsis:
A famous director (Marcello Mastroianni) in a creative slump seeks respite at a spa, but by inviting his mistress (Sandra Milo) and his wife (Anouk Aimee) to come visit — and inevitably being surrounded by people wanting something from him — he is unable to rest.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Anouk Aimee Films
  • Barbara Steele Films
  • Claudia Cardinale Films
  • Directors
  • Federico Fellini Films
  • Italian Films
  • Marcello Mastroianni Films
  • Midlife Crisis

Review:
Fellini’s hyper-existential 8 1/2th film was made after his first six features — Variety Lights (1950) (which he co-directed — so, it counts for half), The White Sheik (1952), I Vitelloni (1953), La Strada (1954), The Swindle (1955) [not listed in Peary’s GFTFF], Nights of Cabiria (1957), and La Dolce Vita (1960), as well as segments of Love in the City (1953) and Boccaccio ’70 (1962) — and thus was named after its own numerical placement in his oeuvre. As Alexander Sesonke notes in his review for Criterion, “8 1/2 is a film about making a film, and the film that is being made is 8 1/2.” Precisely.

Given how intentionally self-absorbed this project ended up being, I was pleasantly surprised by how easily I got caught up in Mastroianni’s travails — unlike in the much bleaker La Dolce Vita (perhaps in part because Fellini kept a note to himself by his camera saying “Remember — this is a comedy.”). Fellini very effectively conveys what it’s like to be so famous and beloved for your craft that you’re literally swarmed by people wanting a piece of it (and you):

… as you’re simultaneously trying to manage an escapist affair, keeping your wife and producers happy (or not):

… and flashing back continuously on memories from your childhood.

Fellini’s direction is seamlessly fluid, never giving us a moment’s pause before turning to the next distraction (much like his protagonist seems to feel at all times).

Watch for Barbara Steele as an inscrutable young American starlet in an early sequence:

… and Claudia Cardinale — at both bookends of the film — starring as Fellini’s (er, Mastroianni’s) “Ideal Woman”.

Note: Not surprisingly, this film spawned a number of imitators, including Alex in Wonderland (1970), All That Jazz (1979), and Stardust Memories (1980).

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Marcello Mastroianni as Guido
  • Gianni Di Venanzo’s cinematography
  • Many memorable scenes and moments
  • Nino Rota’s score

Must See?
Yes, for sure. Listed as a film with Historical relevance, a Cult Movie, and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.

Categories

  • Foreign Gem
  • Historically Relevant
  • Important Director

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)

Links:

Organizer, The (1963)

Organizer, The (1963)

“Friends, it’s not true: we haven’t lost. This is only the darkest hour.”

Synopsis:
In late 1800s Turin, workers at a textile factory are inspired by a visiting “professor” (Marcello Mastroianni) to collectivize and strike for better conditions.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Historical Drama
  • Italian Films
  • Labor Movements
  • Marcello Mastroianni Films
  • Workplace Drama

Review:
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and debuting at the 35th Congress of the Italian Socialist Party, this serio-comedy about disastrous workers’ conditions back before unionization — including 14 hour work days, no accident insurance, unsafe working conditions, and only a half-hour lunch break — tells a sobering yet ultimately uplifting tale of workers coming together to stand up for their rights. We see the harshness of their living and work conditions:

… as well as how intimidating it is to stand up to the dismissive and patronizing bosses at their company:

… and the challenges that arise when a visiting worker in much more dire straits insists he has no choice but to be a scab.

Mastroianni’s role throughout is a crucial one, playing a seemingly meek yet actually headstrong force who knows that he must act with deliberation and relational savvy at all times.

The cinematography, historic sets, and ensemble cast all add to the film’s air of bleak realism, helping us imagine we’re really there during this time.

I was interested to read in J. Hoberman’s essay for Criterion the following about director Mario Monicelli, whose only other film I’ve seen was the featherweight heist caper Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958):

“[He was] the son of a political journalist who moved from socialism to anarcho-syndicalism to fascism (briefly) to antifascism, and who also founded Italy’s first film journal, [and] is best known for his socially aware tragi­comedies. Still, his oeuvre is not easily synopsized. He directed some sixty films and wrote or cowrote more than seventy over the course of a career that began in 1935 with a precocious 16 mm feature based… on Ferenc Molnár’s novel The Paul Street Boys and ended seven decades later, when he was ninety-one, with The Roses of the Desert (2006), a comedy about an Italian medical unit sent to Libya in 1940.”

I haven’t seen enough of Monicelli’s titles to say, but I would venture to guess that this remains one of his most potent — and still relevant — outings. It’s well worth a look. Watch for several familiar faces from Italian cinema of the time, including Renato Salvatori:

… and Annie Girardot (both from Rocco and His Brothers).

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Marcello Mastroianni as the Professor
  • Fine performances by the ensemble cast
  • Excellent use of real-life locales
  • Giuseppe Rotunno’s cinematography

Must See?
Yes, as a good show on an important topic.

Categories

  • Good Show

Links:

Leopard, The (1963)

Leopard, The (1963)

“Ours is a country of compromises.”

Synopsis:
In 1860 Sicily, as Italian states are unifying into one nation, the Prince of Salina (Burt Lancaster) watches over his large family, giving permission for his nephew (Alain Delon) to marry the daughter (Claudia Cardinale) of “new money” (Paolo Stoppa).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Alain Delon Films
  • Burt Lancaster Films
  • Class Relations
  • Claudia Cardinale Films
  • Historical Drama
  • Italian Films
  • Luchino Visconti Films
  • Royalty and Nobility

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary writes, this “opulent historical epic” — based on a 1958 novel of the same name by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, and set during a specific time in Italy’s history known as the Risorgimento — shows us “the old, loyal, refined royalty [as] represented by the picture’s central character, Don Fabrizio,” who is “majestically played by Burt Lancaster.”

While Lancaster “at first… refuses to acknowledge that civil war is taking place around him” — even “continuing his plans for a vacation with his wife (Rina Morelli), his dashing nephew (Alain Delon), and his seven children”:

— very quickly “the face of Italy changes too drastically for him to ignore,” given that “the noble aristocracy of the past is being phased out” and “replaced by” not only “greedy military and political opportunists who switch loyalties at the drop of a hat” but by “shrewd and vulgar young people who will not carry on the dignified tradition.”

Peary points out that “it’s unclear what Lancaster’s attitude toward” the “breathtaking” “Cardinale is — although he appears to approve of her and Delon because they at least have style.”

He adds that the “picture has excellent acting, surprising wit, and glorious sets, costumes, and scenery,” as well as a “lush score” by Nino Rota.

Peary’s assessment is fair, yet I struggled to find much connection with the storyline, which seems conflicted in its views on revolution. While it’s clear that social change is needed, we’re meant to (and do) relate to Lancaster’s central character (the “leopard”) — a man who represents everything noble and patient about a landed gentry which will nonetheless soon be overrun by a much more complicated national reality.

I haven’t much more to say about this film, other than that it’s widely lauded and considered must-see for its visuals alone, which are indeed impressive — but I’m not really sure why American audiences in particular would feel drawn to this tale.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Burt Lancaster as the Prince
  • Sumptuous sets and costumes
  • Giuseppe Rotunno’s cinematography

Must See?
No, though of course it’s worth a one-time look.

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)

Links:

Bluebeard (1963)

Bluebeard (1963)

“When a man finds a solution to all his problems, it’s a dizzying feeling.”

Synopsis:
During World War I, a crook (Charles Denner) supports his wife (Françoise Lugagne) and four kids by secretly wooing and then killing lonely women with money, keeping a mistress (Stéphane Audran) as well on the side.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Claude Chabrol Films
  • French Films
  • Mistaken and Hidden Identities
  • Serial Killers

Review:
Claude Chabrol directed and Françoise Sagan scripted this fictionalized biopic of French serial killer Henri Désiré Landru, who was also the inspiration for Charlie Chaplin’s Monsieur Verdoux (1947). Indeed, Chabrol was a huge fan of Chaplin’s work — an interview with him can be found on the Criterion DVD of the latter — and it’s easy to see its influence, given that Denner’s Landru (like Chaplin’s many cinematic iterations) is a clownish (with widely painted eyebrows) yet serious character who moves around the world feeling perfectly justified in his every move:

… and who is able to shift personas with ease while maintaining his work-a-day sensibility.

After all, wooing and killing (then chopping up and burning) women is simply his lot in life (so he sincerely believes).

As in … Verdoux, this is all presented in a darkly comedic fashion, with the running “jokes” including the fact that there’s a shortage of men due to World War I (which is surely the primary reason so many lonely women fall for this balding, intense weirdo), and that Landru must somehow support his large family.

Indeed, it’s surprisingly challenging to hate Landru despite what a despicable sociopath he unquestionably is. Chabrol’s real-life wife (Stéphane Audran) plays Landru’s real-life lover, Fernande Segret:

… and there are other well-known faces among the women Ladru seduces and murders — including Danielle Darrieux as Berthe Héon:

… Juliette Mayniel — Florence in Chabrol’s Les Cousins (1959) — as Anna Collomb:

… and Hildegard Knef as Mme. X.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Charles Denner as Landru
  • Vibrant cinematography and sets

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a one-time look.

Links:

Joli Mai, Le (1963)

Joli Mai, Le (1963)

“Politics, for me, is living well.”

Synopsis:
In May of 1962 — after the end of an eight-year war with Algeria — an assortment of Parisians are interviewed about their views on life, happiness, society, and current politics.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Documentary
  • French Films

Review:
French filmmaker Chris Marker (nee: Christian Hippolyte François Georges Bouche-Villeneuve) co-directed — with DP Pierre Lhomme — this snapshot of Parisians’ impressions of the (supposed) first “lovely month of May” in eight years since the beginning of the Algerian war (which led to Algeria’s independence from France after more than 100 years of colonial rule). Marker considered this movie to be a form of “direct cinema” (rather than cinéma vérité), given that he was intentional in many of the people he selected to interview — including the inventor below, who says, “Luck plays a big part in life — but the best luck is hands; they’re the best capital you can have” (as the camera occasionally pans to a spider crawling along his coat).


After collecting 55 hours of footage, the resulting ~2.5 hour film — with participants’ interviews left as uninterrupted as possible — was divided into two parts: “A Prayer from the Eiffel Tower” (mostly about everyday life and love) and “The Return of Fantomas” (looking more closely at reactions to the situation in Algeria). Notable instances in the first section include, as described by Margarita Landazuri in TCM’s article, “a suit salesman”:

… “a mother of nine children”:

… “a group of stockbrokers concerned about how the Algerian situation is affecting the market”:

… “children examining a museum display of John Glenn’s space capsule”:

… and “a blissfully in love young couple unconcerned about anything but their own happiness.”

In the second half, “Among those interviewed are an African student” (from Dahomey):

… “and a young Algerian worker who discuss French racism”:

… “and a communist priest who chose his political convictions over his church.”

Notably, however, “there’s also an eccentric young woman who designs costumes for her cat, saying she does so to escape from those dead things that crush you.”

The kind of rhyme or reason you make of all this will likely vary — but regardless, as Landazuri points out, the footage “seems prescient about the political upheavals of the 1960s and beyond, including Paris in 1968.” Note that two versions exist: one narrated in English by Simone Signoret (though there are still subtitles throughout for participants) and one in French by Yves Montand.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Fine “direct cinema” footage of daily life in Paris
  • Several quirky interludes
  • Michel Legrand’s score

Must See?
Yes, for its historical relevance.

Categories

  • Historically Relevant

Links:

Silence, The (1963)

Silence, The (1963)

“How nice that we don’t understand one another.”

Synopsis:
A pair of sisters (Ingrid Thulin and Gunnel Lindblom) travel by train with Thulin’s son (Jörgen Lindström) to an unnamed Central European country, where the increasingly ailing Lindblom is cared for by an elderly doorman, Thulin has an affair with a man she meets at a bar, and Lindström wanders the halls of their hotel.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Ingmar Bergman Films
  • Scandinavian Films
  • Siblings

Review:
The third entry in Ingmar Bergman’s informal mid-career trilogy about the complexities of love and connection — following Through a Glass Darkly (1961) and Winter Light (1963) — was this surreal chamber piece taking place primarily on a train and in a hotel, where individuals struggle to communicate with one another and make sense of the world around them. It’s unclear whether Lindblom and Thulin are meant to be lovers or even (symbolically speaking) two sides of the same person (the latter actually makes more sense):


… with Lindblom erupting defiantly in sensuality:

… Thulin imploding from an unnamed illness:

… and Lindström (the neutral child observer) taking everything in.

The film was primarily notorious upon its release for its sexually explicit nature — though its content is downright tame by today’s standards.

Those who enjoy weird imagery and symbology will have a field day, given that Lindström encounters a group of traveling dwarfs who put him in a dress:

… is cared for by a questionable elderly staff person (who speaks an unknown language):

… and watches as a military tank rattles down the deserted street outside their hotel room while his aunt lies prone.


You will have to decide for yourself whether this is the type of film you get immersed in, or simply watch with curiosity (or boredom).

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Sven Nykvist’s cinematography

Must See?
No; you can skip this one unless you’re a diehard Bergman fan.

Links:

Winter Light (1963)

Winter Light (1963)

“God, why have you forsaken me?”

Synopsis:
A widowed minister (Gunnar Björnstrand) struggles with his faith while navigating his relationship with a doting parishioner (Ingrid Thulin) and meeting with the pregnant wife (Gunnel Lindblom) of a suicidal father (Max von Sydow).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Christianity
  • Ingmar Bergman Films
  • Priests and Ministers
  • Scandinavian Films
  • Widows and Widowers

Review:
This second film — following Through a Glass Darkly (1961) — in Ingmar Bergman’s informal trilogy about the life-saving importance of communication and love was one of his personal favorites, carefully constructed — with crucial assistance from his DP, Sven Nykvist — with a particular vision in mind. However, its unrelenting bleakness makes it a challenging viewing experience, as we watch a seemingly rigid and cold man of faith (Björnstrand) failing to support a parishioner in need:

… while cruelly mistreating the woman (Thulin) who is devoting her life to him.

The story opens and closes on his nearly-empty church services:

… and otherwise takes place in a bitterly gray, wintry landscape.

With that said, the performances — particularly by Björnstrand in the crucial central role — are committed and convincing, making this a rewarding viewing experience for Bergman fans who can otherwise stomach its dreariness.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Gunnar Björnstrand as Tomas Ericsson
  • Sven Nykvist’s cinematography

Must See?
No, unless you’re a Bergman completist.

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)

Links:

Reflections on Must-See Films From 1962

Reflections on Must-See Films From 1962

1962 was an especially rich year for movies, with powerful films across genres and languages. Out of 75 total titles listed in Peary’s book, I voted “Yes – Must See” on 41 (55%). Many stand out to me as worthy of mentioning, for different reasons – so, here goes!

“I am sane. I am innocent. I have committed no crime!”
  • Numbers-wise, of the 41 must-see films, 10 are in a non-English language — including 6 French titles, 1 Spanish (The Exterminating Angel by Buñuel), 2 Japanese (one of which — Harakiri — I very recently reviewed), and 1 Polish (Roman Polanski’s debut film Knife in the Water, which remains a “surprisingly potent chamber piece” worth watching specifically for “its camera angles, strategic blocking of characters, and highly effective editing.”)
  • Of the six French titles, I want to highlight Sundays and Cybele by director Serge Bourguignon — an especially noteworthy (if challenging) film given how it “tackles the challenging topics of PTSD and cross-age friendships with sensitivity and compassion.”
  • While I’m not a huge fan of politics or political flicks, Otto Preminger’s Advise and Consent is an exception, offering “an unparalleled look at the inner workings of Washington, D.C.” and “a slowly gripping storyline… which takes its time getting to the crux of the drama.” The cast (including Don Murray, Charles Laughton, and Walter Pidgeon) is uniformly excellent.
  • Another must-see political film is John Frankenheimer’s incomparable The Manchurian Candidate, which I appreciate revisiting every so often. (Yes, I saw Jonathan Demme’s decent remake — but no, I don’t remember too much about it.) The original is worth watching for several reasons, including Angela “Lansbury’s Academy Award-nominated performance as Mrs. Iselin — one of cinema’s most memorable sociopath mothers” and the “lengthy, creatively filmed Manchurian ‘garden party’/brainwashing sequence, which effectively puts the audience on edge from the get-go.” (It gives me the chills every single time I view it.)
  • Speaking of films that put you on edge, horror and/or horror-adjacent flicks of all types reigned during this year… One delightful sleeper to revisit is the British cult film Burn, Witch, Burn! (a.k.a. Night of the Eagle), with horror evoked “in seemingly mundane interactions and objects” such that “we come to truly believe that dark forces are ruling the unfortunate household” of the protagonists.
  • Speaking of crazed middle-aged women, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? — about two “broken, tragic women whose jealousy and vanity have forced them both onto an inescapably disastrous trajectory” — is not-to-be missed, and is actually a title I’m due to revisit soon since I reviewed it way back in 2007.
  • Another cult favorite is Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls, an unusual low-budget horror-sleeper possessing “a surprising amount of atmosphere and panache, with striking b&w cinematography, creative direction, and a particularly noteworthy organ score by Gene Moore.”
  • An oh-so-powerful horror-adjacent title — though not recommended for repeated viewings — is the original iteration of Cape Fear, featuring Robert Mitchum as “a terrifyingly brutal bastard, an intelligent but deluded and narcissistic sociopath who uses humans as fodder for a sick scenario of vengeance he’s playing out in his head.”
  • I consider nearly all of Orson Welles’s unique directorial outings to be must-see — including his critically contentious adaptation of Franz Kafka’s The Trial, in which “the story plays out exactly like the nightmarish series of random encounters it is” (be forewarned).
  • Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita is another vibrant adaptation, featuring the inimitable James Mason as a man head-over-heels for his underaged stepdaughter. Sue Lyon’s “performance [in the title role] is at the heart of this film’s success — she’s preternaturally able to embody this challenging role and convince us that events are playing out exactly as seen on screen.”
  • I was riveted all over again when revisiting Arthur Penn’s The Miracle Worker, featuring a powerhouse performance by Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan (Helen Keller’s real-life teacher), a woman who “consistently and relentlessly stand[s] up for what she believes in, even at risk of losing her job.”
  • A beautifully filmed, crowd-pleasing favorite of 1962 is To Kill a Mockingbird, featuring (as Peary puts it) Gregory Peck as “the man you’d want for your father,” and one of the most memorable scores of all time, by Elmer Bernstein.
  • I’ve written fairly recently about how much I appreciated Sidney Lumet’s adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night (co-starring Katharine Hepburn, Ralph Richardson, Dean Stockwell, and Jason Robards, Jr.), but I will put in yet another plug for it as one of the best theatrical adaptations out there.
  • So far, so black-and-white… But let’s not forget that the original James Bond movie — Dr. No — debuted this year in glorious Technicolor, featuring not only stylish Sean Connery but bodacious Ursula Andress in her iconic white bikini.
  • I was also delighted to find that The Music Man has held up really well and remains eminently sing-along-able.

    What can I do, my dear, to catch your ear
    I love you madly, madly Madam Librarian… Marian

  • I’ll leave it at that for now, but suffice it to say that 1962 offered up plenty of creatively diverse and enjoyable must-see titles spanning genres, countries, and budgets. Happy viewing!

    P.S. I just found out that I’m not alone in noticing how many awesome films were released this particular year… I’m curious to check out this book!

To Die in Madrid (1963)

To Die in Madrid (1963)

“They come from around the world; they are going to die in Madrid.”

Synopsis:
Extensive footage explores the bloody Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, fought between left-leaning Republicans and Franco’s dictatorial Nationalist regime.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Documentary
  • French Films
  • Spanish Civil War

Review:
Made a little over 20 years after its conclusion, this French documentary about the Spanish Civil War — directed and co-written by Frédéric Rossif — was nominated for an Oscar as Best Documentary (though it lost to The Eleanor Roosevelt Story, which I’m now curious to see as well; it would actually be super interesting to take a dive into all Oscar-nominated documentaries over the years, if available…). At any rate, Rossif and his team present a truly impressive compilation of historical film clips:

… intermingled with beautifully shot additional footage:

… presenting the arc of the war from its beginnings — at a time when (our narrator informs us) half the country’s population of 24 million people is illiterate, with “8 million poor, 2 million landless farmers, [and] 20,000 people own[ing] half of Spain” — until its end, when World War II increasingly dominated the global landscape (Spain remained officially neutral).

Such socio-cultural context is crucial to our understanding of why and how so many people fought on behalf of the Republican cause:

… though they were ultimately defeated, in large part through the support of Franco’s Fascist cronies. Along the way we learn about how “the [Spanish] people discover that they exist: they have the right to speak, the right to discourse,” yet they remain landless and “the workers are still without work.”


We hear about Francisco Franco’s election in 1936; the two fronts that emerge (Popular and National); and how the Popular Front gains legitimate power while a narrative against it is quickly spun:

“Against this sterile state, I propose the integral state: what many call fascist,” says anti-Republican Calvo Sotelo, who is assassinated. “But if the fascist state is the end of the strikes, the end of the unrest, the end of abuses against property, then I declare with pride that I am a fascist.”

And so on (though we are only 8 minutes into the film at this point)… Among the most devastating footage is the unconscionable bombing of civilians at Guernica, in which “the shelling lasted 3 hours.”

Along with The Good Fight (1984) — which chronicles American volunteers’ role in the war — all viewers should watch this film and learn about this still-too-little-understood period of 20th century global history.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Impressive curation of historical footage
  • Georges Barsky’s cinematography
  • Maurice Jarre’s score

Must See?
Yes, for its historical relevance and Oscar nomination.

Categories

  • Historically Relevant
  • Oscar Winner or Nominee

Links:

Muriel (1963)

Muriel (1963)

“Can’t we be done with the past?”

Synopsis:
When a middle-aged woman (Delphine Seyrig) living with her grown stepson (Jean-Baptiste Thierrée) in Boulogne invites her former lover (Jean-Pierre Kérien) to visit, he shows up with a young woman (Nita Klein) who he first refers to as his niece, but turns out to be his mistress.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Alain Resnais Films
  • Delphine Seyrig Films
  • French Films

Review:
Alain Resnais’s third feature-length film — after Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959) and Last Year at Marienbad (1961) — was scripted by Jean Cayrol, his collaborator on Night and Fog (1955), and utilizes a similarly non-linear, mosaic-like narrative structure. Susan Sontag pointed out in her essay for Film Quarterly that all three “share a common subject” of a “search for the inexpressible past” — indeed, the characters in Muriel (as in the other two films) talk and act with desperation, siloed in their delusions, troubles, and world-views:




… with little of it making longer-term temporal or logical sense.

To that end, the screenplay is filled with what James Quandt, writing for Criterion, refers to as “disorienting ellipses, compressions, attenuations, and… obsessive repetitions” — none of which is inherently compelling to watch unless you’re eager to engage in ongoing speculative analysis. As Sontag points out in her essay:

“Resnais denies the viewer a chance to orient himself visually to traditional story terms. We are shown a hand on the doorknob, the vacant insincere smile of the client:

… a coffee pot boiling… [And] when Resnais cuts abruptly, he pulls the viewer away from the story. His cutting acts as a brake on the narrative, a form of aesthetic undertow, a sort of filmic alienation effect.”

The most poignant moment — though it feels somewhat unearned — comes half-way through the film, as Thierrée sits and watches footage from the recently concluded war in Algeria, sharing pained memories of a young, unseen woman named Muriel whose torture (and implied rape) he partook in.

Be forewarned that nothing much resolves in a satisfying way in this film — though you may want to listen for my favorite random line (“Don’t take it out on the azaleas.”) and watch for a Hitchcock “silhouette” in one scene (as can also be found in … Marienbad).

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Delphine Seyrig as Hélène
  • Fine location shooting

  • Sacha Vierny’s cinematography

Must See?
No; you can skip this one unless you’re a Resnais fan.

Links: