Adapted from a novel, L’Incident by the French author Christian Gailly, the film playfully examines the complications that ensue from the discovery by Georges (André Dussollier) of Marguerite’s (Sabine Azéma) stolen purse. This opens up the possibility for both Georges and Marguerite of rushing into the irrational, of just following their impulses where ever they may lead, with no heed to the consequences, that eventually leads to the much-discussed surprise ending.
This multi-layered story of the desire to hold off age, of self-doubt, of the sheer oddity of life, is told by a sometimes unreliable off-screen narrator, (Edouard Baer), and is filled with playful touches and great humour, with terrific cinematography by Eric Gaultier, and just-right performances from Resnais regulars Dussollier and Azéma, plus those actors new to his films, Emmanuelle Devos and Mathieu Amalric.
Prix Exceptionnel, Cannes Film Festival
Read an interview with Alain Resnais in Time Out New York
2009 LES HERBES FOLLES (WILD GRASS)
2006 COEURS (PRIVATE FEARS IN PUBLIC PLACES)
2003 PAS SUR LA BOUCHE (NOT ON THE LIPS)
1997 ON CONNAÎT LA CHANSON (SAME OLD SONG)
1993 SMOKING and NO SMOKING
1989 I WANT TO GO HOME
1984 L’AMOUR À MORT (LOVE UNTO DEATH)
1983 LA VIE EST UN ROMAN (LIFE IS A BED OF ROSES)
1980 MON ONCLE D’AMÉRIQUE (MY AMERICAN UNCLE)
1968 JE T’AIME JE T’AIME
1967 LOIN DU VIETNAM (FAR FROM VIETNAM)
1966 LA GUERRE EST FINIE (THE WAR IS OVER)
1963 MURIEL OU LE TEMPS D’UN RETOUR (MURIEL, OR THE TIME OF RETURN)
1961 L’ANNÉE DERNIÈRE À MARIENBAD (LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD)
1959 H IROSHIMA MON AMOUR
1958 LE CHANT DU STYRÈNE
1956 TOUTE LA MÉMOIRE DU MONDE
1955 NUIT ET BROUILLARD (NIGHT AND FOG)
1953 LES STATUES MEURENT AUSSI (STATUES ALSO DIE)
codirected by Chris Marker
codirected by Robert Hessens
1948 VAN GOGH
Director Alain Resnais
Producer Jean-Louis Livi
Executive Producer Julie Salvador
Coproducer Valerio De Paolis
Screenwriters Alex Réval, Laurent Herbiet
Based on the novel L’Incident by Christian Gailly, Editions de Minuit
Director of Photography Eric Gautier
Production Design Jacques Saulnier
Costumes Jackie Budin
Sound Gérard Hardy, Jean-Marie Blondel, Gérard Lamps
Assistant Director Christophe Jeauffroy
Continuity Sylvette baudrot
Editor Hervé de Luze
Music Mark Snow
A French-Italian coproduction F Comme Film - StudioCanal - France 2 Cinéma - Bim Distribuzione
With the support of Canal+,TPs Star and Eurimages
In association with Cinémage 3
With the support of the Centre National de la Cinématographie
And Région Ile-de-France
104 mins– Scope – SRD - DTS
Marguerite Muir Sabine Azéma
Georges Palet André Dussollier
Suzanne Anne Consigny
Josépha Emmanuelle Devos
Bernard de Bordeaux Mathieu Amalric
Lucien d’Orange Michel Vuillermoz
Narrator Edouard Baer
Neighbour Annie Cordy
Elodie Sara Forestier
Jean-Mi Nicolas Duvauchelle
Marcelin Palet Vladimir Consigny
Sikorsky Dominique Rozan
Mickey Jean-Noël Brouté
Marguerite’s Acolytes Elric Covarel-Garcia, Valéry Schatz, Stéfan Godin, Grégory Perrin
Marcel Schwer Roger-Pierre
★★★★★'Alain Resnais' hallucinatory comedy is a trip worth taking'
Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
Read the full review
"One of the most impressive and enjoyable films in the competition....This latest confection, light as a soufflé, effervescent as a glass of cold champagne, and bittersweet as chocolate, feels like a summation of all the best things in Resnais’ oeuvre.
Geoff Andrew Time Out
Read the full review
"The most completely pleasurable film at this year's Cannes...
a dazzling burst of new-found vigour and imagination.
Playful and often extremely funny...
This flamboyant, eccentric comedy was one of the most visually eclectic films in competition"
Jonathan Romney Sight and Sound
Read the full review
The week's big surprise was a cracking comeback from the great French veteran Alain Resnais. In the early 1960s, he changed the language of cinema with such puzzlers as Last Year at Marienbad, Wild Grass sees Resnais finding a boisterous breath of new invention, spinning an extravagant, self-deconstructing, hugely entertaining story of unrequited love.
Crammed with delirious set design, red herrings, mischievous comedy and a dazzlingly inscrutable ending, Wild Grass showed a maestro rallying magnificently and – at the age of 87 – producing one of the liveliest, freshest films here.
Jonathan Romney The Independent
"Alain Resnais’ Wild Grass showcases one of the great masters of modern cinema with a romantic fantasy which displays the comfortable but consummate confidence of an artist who knows exactly what he wants to do and how to do it. If, once upon a time, audiences were scared away by the complexity of his work, here Resnais is offering a deceptively simple and elegant picture, which will grow in depth and meaning with every additional viewing...
Perfectly paced, this realistic fairytale is orchestrated with something of a magic touch by a director who can’t seem to put a foot wrong"
Dan Fainaru Screen International
a meteor of out-and-out strangeness...
what keeps us watching is the film's stylistic flamboyance. Wild Grass seethes with a mercurial brio not seen in a Resnais film for ages
it's a magnificent rebirth, with Resnais proving more playful, more provocative, more downright youthful than he has been in years.
At 88, film-makers aren't supposed to make comebacks this exuberant. Wild Grass is wild all right, and so, apparently, is the old master at its helm.
Jonathan Romney Independent on Sunday
Pick of the Week
This playful, stylish study of an imaginary romance
Veteran Resnais crafts a silky, genre-hopping middle-aged romance that’s full of wonders and mysteries
An exploration of desire...
A funny, soulful movie about love and other agonies, Wild Grass” is among his finest in years, which makes it an event...
it does confirm its director as one of the giants of the art.
Manohla Dargis The New York Times
Peter Whittle The Sunday Times
Resnais finding a boisterous breath of new invention, spinning an extravagant, self-deconstructing, hugely entertaining story of unrequited love”.
Joanthan Romney The Independent
“the most sublime film I’ve seen in Cannes in years, a hallucinatory, entrancing work in which each scene is surprising”
Former nouvelle vague wunderkind Alain Resnais has made his friskiest film in years with the comedy of unconscious desires...MASTERFUL
deadly serious, or an extended joke? A summing-up of the œuvre, or a taking-off into unknown skies? It manages, magisterially, to be all of these things at once.
Wild Grass is about nothing less than life, love and death... Resnais fully finds here what he has sought since at least Life is a Bed of Roses
Adrian Martin Sight And Sound
‘Veteran French director Alain Resnai, now 88 certainly keeps us guessing. Who knew he had this fiercely odd yarn of competing obsessions still in him?’
‘Frisky and baffling’
Tim Robey, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
‘Wild Grass shows us a director as adventurous as ever as he nears 90.’
‘…it’s the fluent film-making and elliptical editing that have become Resnais trademarks.’
Derek Malcolm, THE STANDARDBrilliantly acted...beguiling
Edward Lawrenson The Big Issue
‘A splendidly idiosyncratic mixture of flippant screwball comedy and melancholy musing on unpredictable fate and crazy coincidences.’
‘A very enjoyable and oddly touching tale.’
Allan Hunter, THE EXPRESS
‘In Alain Resnais’ Wild Grass, a charmer from a French arthouse hero, characters take leave of their senses while the director rediscovers his own.’
‘It is incredibly charming’
‘Lots of meanings. Lots of clevernesses…it is lovely to see.’
Nigel Andrews, FINANCIAL TIMES
'Cheeky and confident...
‘This joyfully skittish farce from 88-year-old maestro Alain Resnais… maybe one of the director’s finest, and its loopy final line is the cryptic cherry on this oddball gâteau.’
David Jenkins, TIME OUT
‘No signs of creative burn-out for Alain Resnais, the pioneering French New Wave director who’s now 88.’
‘A wonderfully eccentric offering from Resnais, with fine ensemble performances to match.’
Tom Dawson, TOTAL FILM
'The performances are remarkable'
David Parkinson, EMPIRE
Now into his eighties he is still bamboozling audiences with his odd meditations on desire and memory’
Anthony Quinn, THE INDEPENDENT
‘One of France's most enduring auteurs shows that he can still mess about with our expectations of what cinema is, and is for.’
‘By teasing out the mismatch between the ordinary and the cinematic, Resnais' eccentric farce is slight and profound in equal measure.
‘This is the kind of film that lingers in the mind and keeps us smiling, because we know how irrational but marvellous it is to latch on to a complete stranger in a way that makes no sense, like wild grass sprouting through a crack in the motorway.’
Psychodrama, sex farce, tragedy, comedy—Wild Grass is all these things and more…Alain Resnais' masterpiece
Keith Uhlich Time Out New York
A constant confounding delightRichard Corliss Time Magazine
"At the ripe age of 87, and exactly half a century since dropping a cinematic atom bomb with "Hiroshima mon amour," Alain Resnais continues his career-long experiment in filmmaking with the playfully flamboyant melodrama "Wild Grass." More freewheeling than 2006's "Private Fears in Public Places," but with a similar networking structure that connects the destinies of several melancholy adults into one intriguing web, the pic is marked by superb performances and a dazzling technical display by the helmer and praiseworthy cinematographer Eric Gautier....
"Wild Grass" shows that although Resnais has grown more light-hearted in old age, he hasn't lost his desire to challenge the viewer on all levels."
Jordan Mintzer Variety