Alain Resnais, Still Working Hard

There is a good article from yesterday’s New York Times about French filmmaker Alain Resnais, director of Hiroshima Mon Amor and Night and Fog. Here is an excerpt.

Restless Innovations From Alain Resnais

By Dave Kehr
Published: April 8, 2007

AT 84, with his silver helmet of hair, elegant bearing and crisply pressed blue blazer, Alain Resnais can look more like a retired yachtsman than one of Europe’s most senior and respected filmmakers. Yet, after 16 features and countless shorts, the director of Hiroshima Mon Amour and Night and Fog isn’t ready to settle back on a leather banquette and sip Champagne from a flute. Mr. Resnais continues to work and work brilliantly, drawing on a reserve of youthful energy and imagination to produce a new film every two or three years, full of surprises.

His latest work, Private Fears in Public Places, will open in New York on Friday. In its grace, assurance and quietly assumed formal inventiveness, it seems like a rebuke to the sprawling excess of more self-consciously avant-garde films like David Lynch’s Inland Empire. Mr. Resnais, after all, put giant rodent heads on his actors (in 1980’s Mon Oncle d’Amerique) years before Mr. Lynch had a similar inspiration in Inland Empire: hardly the most significant of Mr. Resnais’s artistic innovations but one that speaks to the restless sense of experimentation that lies just beneath the deliberately simple, carefully composed surface of his work.

Although his career has overlapped those of François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and other critics-turned-filmmakers who became collectively known as the New Wave, Mr. Resnais was never a member of their group. He, and contemporaries like Agnes Varda and Chris Marker, came from the liberal intellectual establishment of the Left Bank, while Truffaut and many of his colleagues were uncredentialed Right Bank outsiders, whose politics, at least in the early days, tended toward Catholic conservatism.

The article continues here.

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Here is an interview with Resnais from 1961.

He’s great, then and now. What is your favorite Resnais film?

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