The Films of Alain-Robbe Grillet

Unfortunately, writer/director Alain Robbe-Grillet passed away in February of this year. Fortunately, out of this tragic loss, I have been opened to his (masterful) work, due to the Cinematheque playing a few of his films (along with Alain Resnais’). The two I’ve been able to catch thus far (and unfortunately, the only two I will have caught at the Cinematheque) have been Trans-Europ Express and L’homme Qui Ment. Since most of my review for L’homme Qui Ment can be found within my new pictoview (a few blurbs about the film within a picture of the film I’ve found on the internet – sort of like half picture/half review), I will only write briefly about it and then post the pictoview of the film.

So yesterday [August 6th, 2008] I caught L’homme Qui Ment (also known as The Man Who Lies) with my good buddy. It isn’t exactly for everyone… scratch that, it isn’t for most people, but being the film snob that I am (ha…ha) I was able to appreciate it! Some people with good film taste will look at this film and go “what? That’s not art” and you know, that’s fine; it is expressionism after all. The main thing that triggered my interest in the film was Jean-Louis Trintignant winning Best Actor at the Berlin Film Festival in 1968 – I’m a man that cannot pass up a good performance. His performance – along with the rest of the film – was definitely worth the ten dollars. The story is a bit scattered, but that’s what it wants you to feel, because the movie is scattered; very much so. So much in fact that halfway into it you’ll get the gist of the idea, but then go “What?” because although you know the point of the film, you never really “get it”. The film is a real thinker, which helps you enjoy the film even more when it’s over, for you try to put the pieces together. It’s a hard puzzle and not even I have cracked it yet; a total paradox. I’ve got my suspicions but that’s about all. I’ll let the pictoview do the rest of the talking for me. If you are wondering, yes, I write everything in the pictoview.

The ‘second’ film (the one I saw first…) entitled Trans-Europ Express is one of my utmost favourite films ever. It has the perfect balance of oddities, ‘brow-raising scenes and humor that one cannot resist. It is a much more conventional film than The Man Who Lies, but it does contain some of the more graphic scenes of the two films. Actually, Trans-Europ Express has sadism, which I’m pretty sure was unheard of back in the mid 60’s… at least in films. Again, another film starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, and once again he is great! Though an inferior performance to his in The Man Who Lied, he’s still got a beautiful charm and aura about him in his role as Elias. His female counterpart in the film, Marie-France Pisier, is great! She plays a variety of different possible personalities, but I’ll go with sexual deviant. At first, we see her as some sort of a prostitute who only feeds Elias’ bizarre sexual hunger. We learn some stuff later on, yada yada… Yeah. She’s great, though. I loved her. The film takes a lot of turns here and there and is someone of an absurdist film, now that I think about it. There are scenes of absurdism, but I wouldn’t call the entire thing absurdist. Imagine, if you will, someone taking a Jean-Pierre Melville film (such as Le Samourai or Le Doulos) and turning the material into some sort of homogeneous blend of humor and ridiculousness (in both bizarre and unexpectedness ways). All of this is the formula for an amazing film, in my opinion. In my top twenty of all-time, and I will jump on the opportunity to catch this film again. See it if you can! Now for my pictoview (a much less grand one – less room to work with)

Well that’s all for now. I’m very hopeful that I will catch at least a few more Alain Robbe-Grillet films before the month is out – through downloading and things of that nature. I’ll post another note on him if this is the case.