Alain Resnais (1922- 2014) is better known for the iconic ‘’Hiroshima Mon Amour’ (1959) and ‘Last Year in Marienbad’ (1961) but he left us twenty feature films and many documentary shorts including the haunting ‘Night and Fog’ (1956) about the Holocaust.
Resnais grew up in Brittany in a conservative family where cinema was seen as vulgar entertainment. During the Occupation, he studied editing at the new ‘Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques’ (now Fémis). It is then not surprising that bold yet subtle editing is central to his experimental approach to film, some which he made with his friend Chris Marker. Marker and Resnais, along with Agnès Varda and Jacques Demy, belonged to the ‘Left Bank’ group of radical filmmakers associated with the French New Wave, and Godard and Truffaut regularly commended Resnais’s films in Cahiers du Cinéma.
While Resnais gained the reputation of an intellectual filmmaker for his collaboration with innovative writers like Marguerite Duras (‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’) and Alain Robbe-Grillet (‘Last year in Marienbad’), he loved absurdist comedy and popular art forms like cartoons or popular songs. This made for a unique and eclectic body of work that gained him international praise as one of the great innovators of twentieth century cinema.
- Martine Pierquin