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Alain Resnais has passed away

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  • Aunt Peg
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    #145163

    The great Alan Resnais has passed away at the age of 91.

    Shame on the Academy for never giving him a life achievement award. They have had plenty of opportunities.

     

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    Macbeth
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    #145165

    Oh no 

    I wonder if they’re going to have time to slot him into the In Memoriam segment for tonight 

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    Scottferguson
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    #145166

    He was an obvious choice for an honorary award. He was among the 3 or 4 greatest living directors.

    He worked until the end – his most recent film just won a top prize at Berlin.

    No way he is in the memorial this year- the deadline was a month ago, and they likely had to push to get Hoffman and Temple in; Harold Ramis also likely too late.

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    babypook
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    #145167

    Rest in Peace

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    Gabriel
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    #145168

    I studied some of his films in college, and loved them. L’Année dernière à Marienbad and Hiroshima mon amour will be remembered forever.

    R.I.P

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    K-Hole
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    #145169

    I had the honor of attending a screening and meeting M. Resnais years ago and will always cherish that memory. He directed three of my all-time favorite movies, all of which are masterpieces, as well as many other great films:

    Hiroshima Mon Amour
    Last Year at Marienbad
    Muriel, or The Time of Return

    Cinema has lost a great artist. He will be missed.

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    Scottferguson
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    #145170

    Marienbad was the first fully subtitled film I ever saw (was 15) – the high school class I took showed it twice in two days for good measure. Saw Hiroshima a year or so later. I’ve seen nearly all of his films, several others near their equal. What was amazing about Resnais is how he reinvented himself till the end over a 60 year career going back to his documentaries (including his seminal Holocaust short doc Night and Fog). He was not only a great filmmaker, but also a consummate intellectual of a kind that surpassed most other great directors.

    His death, not the Oscars, is the most important film event of the day. 

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    GusCruz
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    #145171

    Marienbad was the first fully subtitled film I ever saw (was 15) – the high school class I took showed it twice in two days for good measure. Saw Hiroshima a year or so later. I’ve seen nearly all of his films, several others near their equal. What was amazing about Resnais is how he reinvented himself till the end over a 60 year career going back to his documentaries (including his seminal Holocaust short doc Night and Fog). He was not only a great filmmaker, but also a consummate intellectual of a kind that surpassed most other great directors.

    His death, not the Oscars, is the most important film event of the day. 

    I’d say it’s the most important film event of the MONTH, at least.

    And I agree and applaud 100% of what you said.

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    Scottferguson
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    #145172

    Thx for the kind words

    If either Cuaron or McQueen wins director, I’d be disappointed if he doesn’t mention this (since it won’t be in the memoriam, and would deserve it anyway) 

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    Words Count
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    #145173

    Thx for the kind words

    If either Cuaron or McQueen wins director, I’d be disappointed if he doesn’t mention this (since it won’t be in the memoriam, and would deserve it anyway) 

    You’re setting yourself up for a rude awakening because they’re not going to mention him. The only nominee of the evening who is likely to bring him up is Scorsese and he’s not winning.

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    marcelo
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    #145174

    Au revoir Master. R.I.P

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    Scottferguson
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    #145175

    And you know this how?

    Cuaron cited the equally great French master Robert Bresson at the GGs. McQueen also has been influenced by the greats. I am hardly certain about whether either will, but I think there is a good chance. Sorry, your certainty doesn’t come from knowledge on your part. For cineastes like Cuaron and McQueen, Resnais was a god, even if he is possibly nothing to you.

    Resnais is by far the most significant film death of recent months in terms of influence and career to the art of filmmaking. No one even comes close. 

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    Words Count
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    #145176

    And you know this how?

    Cuaron cited the equally great French master Robert Bresson at the GGs. McQueen also has been influenced by the greats. I am hardly certain about whether either will, but I think there is a good chance. Sorry, your certainty doesn’t come from knowledge on your part. For cineastes like Cuaron and McQueen, Resnais was a god, even if he is possibly nothing to you.

    Resnais is by far the most significant film death of recent months in terms of influence and career to the art of filmmaking. No one even comes close. 

    Shirely Temple — Hollywood icon for generations who don’t look at “old movies” from the golden era of the studio system.

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    Scottferguson
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    #145177

    No star can ever come close to the importance of a seminal director. Better known? Of course. Influencing the art form? Only if also a director. Temple was a major star no doubt. She was not in the same league as Resnais.

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    Scottferguson
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    #145178

    MOVIES
    Alain Resnais, Acclaimed French Filmmaker, Is Dead at 91

    By /New York Times MARCH 2, 2014

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    Alain Resnais at the Cannes film festival in 2002.CreditFrancois Guillot/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
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    Alain Resnais, the French filmmaker who helped introduce literary modernism to the movies and became an international art-house star with nonlinear narrative films like “Hiroshima Mon Amour” and “Last Year at Marienbad,” died on Saturday in Paris. He was 91.

    His death was confirmed by the French president, François Hollande, who called Mr. Resnais one of France’s greatest filmmakers.

    Although his name was often associated with the French New Wave directors — notably Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, whose careers coalesced around the same time his did — Mr. Resnais actually belonged to a tradition of Left Bank intellectualism that drew on more established, high-culture sources than the moviecentric influences of the New Wave. Where Godard’s 1960 film, “Breathless,” was a pastiche of low-budget American gangster films, Mr. Resnais’s breakthrough feature, “Hiroshima Mon Amour,” in 1959, took on two subjects weighted with social and political significance: the American nuclear destruction of Hiroshima, Japan, and the German occupation of France.

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    A scene from the 1961 film “Last Year at Marienbad,” directed by Alain Resnais. CreditRialto Pictures

    To bind these themes into a melancholy love story about a French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) who has a brief affair with a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada), Mr. Resnais commissioned a screenplay from the writer Marguerite Duras, then one of the emerging stars of the “nouveau roman” movement, which was challenging literary narrative conventions.

    Mr. Resnais continued to collaborate with celebrated authors like Alain Robbe-Grillet, a leading proponent of the nouveau roman, on “Last Year at Marienbad” (1961) and Jorge Semprún of Spain for “La Guerre Est Finie” (1966) and “Stavisky…“ (1974), yet his films could never be described as simple literary exercises.

    Fascinated by the ability of film editing to take apart and reassemble fragments of time — one of his first professional experiences was as an editor and assistant director on “Paris 1900,” a 1947 documentary on the French capital during its belle époque — Mr. Resnais incorporated the effects of scrambled memories, déjà vu and fantasy into his work.

    In “Last Year at Marienbad,” which won the Golden Lion at the 1961 Venice Film Festival, a man identified only as “X” (Giorgio Albertazzi) tries to convince a woman identified only as “A” (Delphine Seyrig) that they had an affair the year before at Marienbad, the fashionable European spa. As they wander the corridors and grounds of a sprawling chateau, A resists X’s advances, as a third man, M (Sacha Pitoëff), who seems to be A’s husband, looks on.

    The film achieves its hypnotic force through repeated lines and situations, a time scheme that folds back on itself, and ominous, black-and-white wide-screen images that evoke both surrealist paintings (human figures cast long shadows, but not the decorative shrubbery that frames them) and the society dramas of silent film. (Ms. Seyrig is costumed to resemble the enigmatic silent star Louise Brooks.)

    The film’s radical approach won both extravagant praise and harsh derision: the critic Pauline Kael dismissed it as “all solemn and expectant — like High Mass.” Mr. Resnais’s attitude was more amused.

    “I don’t believe it is really a riddle to be solved,” he told the television interviewer François Chalais. “Every spectator can find his own interpretation, and it’s likely to be the right one.”

    Mr. Resnais had a full head of white hair that the French newspaper Le Monde said he had sported for so long that they had forgotten he was ever young. He exhibited a youthful energy well into his 80s and was working on drafts of his next project from his hospital bed when he died, the producer Jean-Louis Livi, said.

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    Despite the serious nature of his films, he showed a playful side in recent years and said he had found inspiration in Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” one of his favorite television shows. Another expression of his appreciation for “high” and “low” culture was his interest in cartoons. His 1989 movie, “I Want to Go Home,” was a comedy collaboration with Jules Feiffer, with whom he wrote the screenplay. He told a French interviewer that he wanted his work to have the effect of “désolation allègre,” — “cheerful desolation.”

    Mr. Resnais was married twice. His first wife, Florence Malraux, was the daughter of the novelist André Malraux and worked as his assistant on many of his films from “Marienbad” to “Mélo.” They later divorced. His second wife, Sabine Azéma, who survives him, is an actress who appeared in many of his films.

    Mr. Resnais was born on June 3, 1922, in the village of Vannes, in Brittany, where his father was a pharmacist. He became fascinated by the movies as a child, and at 14 he directed his first film in eight millimeter, “L’Aventure de Guy,” now lost but said to have been inspired by Louis Feuillade’s crime serial “Fantômas.”

    In 1939, he moved to Paris to study acting, and in 1942 he appeared as an extra in Marcel Carné’s Occupation allegory “Les Visiteurs du Soir.” When the French national film school, L’Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques, was founded in 1943, Mr. Resnais became a member of what would become the first graduating class.

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    Emmanuelle Riva and Eiji Okada in “Hiroshima, Mon Amour,” a 1959 film by Alain Resnais.CreditZenith International

    Mr. Resnais directed his first 16-millimeter short in 1946, a surrealist comedy titled “Schéma d’une Identification” (“Outline of an Identification”), and persuaded a neighbor, the matinee idol Gérard Philipe, to lend his name and presence to the project. He soon followed with a feature-length work, “Ouvert Pour Cause d’Inventaire” (“Open on Account of Inventory”). Both are now believed lost.

    Mr. Resnais then threw himself into a series of short documentaries and sponsored films, including a 1947 homage to Nestlé’s powdered milk.

    A 1948 film on Van Gogh impressed the producer Pierre Braunberger, who invited him to remake it in 35 millimeter. Works on a wide variety of subjects followed, but it was a 1955 synthesis of newly shot and newsreel footage that established Mr. Resnais’s reputation: “Night and Fog,” a quietly powerful exhortation to the French, and the world, to remember the Nazi death camps at a time when their horrors were fading into willed amnesia.

    After the international success of “Marienbad,” Mr. Resnais returned to the subject of suppressed historical trauma in 1963 with “Muriel,” a relatively straightforward drama about a middle-aged antiques dealer (Ms. Seyrig again) whose life has been warped as a distant consequence of the war in Algeria.

    Memory, with an increasingly complex use of montage to evoke the mind’s unpredictable associations, became the central subject of Mr. Resnais’s films: from “La Guerre Est Finie” (1966) to “Providence” (1977). Perhaps his most innovative film of this period was the 1968 “Je t’Aime Je t’Aime,” which used a time-travel premise to compose a complex series of enigmatic images and dramatic fragments spiraling through one man’s subjective experience of life.

    A more playful, satirical side of Mr. Resnais’s personality emerged with the 1980 “Mon Oncle d’Amérique,” a witty disquisition on humans’ lack of free will spun from the behavioralist theories of the psychologist Henri Laborit. The film’s contrapuntal structure, which moved among three different stories to explore a common theme, would become a key element in Mr. Resnais’s later work.

    For “Life Is a Bed of Roses,” in 1983, Mr. Resnais assembled the trio of performers who would remain with him for much of the rest of his career: Ms. Azéma (whom Mr. Resnais would marry in 1998), Pierre Arditi and André Dussollier, each of them expert at the kind of stylized, theatrical acting that became central to Mr. Resnais’s work.

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    In films like the 1986 “Mélo,” adapted from a 1929 play by Henri Bernstein, and “Smoking/No Smoking,” a pair of 1993 features based on Alan Ayckbourn’s eight-play cycle, “Intimate Exchanges,” Mr. Resnais explored the tension between cinematic realism and theatrical artifice. In his hands, the conflict became a metaphor for the competing roles of chance and predetermination in shaping human lives.

    From its somber beginnings, Mr. Resnais’s work seemed to grow more lighthearted over the years. A passionate devotee of Broadway musicals, he incorporated music into his work with the pop score of “Same Old Song”(1997) and “Not on the Lips,” a 2003 adaptation of a 1925 operetta.

    In 2009, the New York Film Festival opened with his “Wild Grass,” a bittersweet comedy of missed romantic connections that came with two different endings; Mr. Resnais suggested that spectators could choose the one they liked best.

    At the Cannes Film Festival in 2009, where Mr. Resnais received a lifetime achievement award, he said: “I’ve read articles calling me a filmmaker of memory. I’ve always refused that label by saying, ‘No, I want to make films that describe the imaginary.’ ”

    His interest was not nostalgia, he added: “It’s simply the astonishment over everything that our imaginary can provoke.”

    His last film, “The Life of Riley,” had its premiere last month at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Alfred Bauer Prize. This particular Silver Bear award celebrates a film that “opens new perspectives on cinematic art.”

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