Friday, July 2, 2010
Wild Grass (Les herbes folles)
Perhaps you experience this before when reading a poem—although those lines in a poem do not necessarily connect to each other in a logical narrative sense, but each line connotes feelings in its unique way and constantly provokes thoughts or emotion. You might have a similar experience when you watch renowned French director Alain Resnais's latest film "Wild Grass" (Les herbes folles | French 2009 | in French | 104 min.).
At age 87 (born in 1922), Alain Resnais adapts a French novel "L'Incident" (by Christian Gailly) into this intriguing, stylish, and a little bit strange "Wild Grass." He receives the Lifetime Achievement Award at Cannes Film Festival last year for this work.
The film elegantly opens with two incidents that connect the two protagonists who otherwise would never know each other. Dentist Marguerite Muir (Sabine Azéma) loses her bag and her wallet to a robbery after she purchases a pair of shoes in a store. She goes home and takes a bath, trying to forget about it. Meanwhile, Georges Palet (André Dussollier) finds her discarded wallet in a parking lot, and examines it in detail before returns it to her. However, Georges does not let Marguerite move on. He escalates his expecting a thank-you phone call, to engaging in a bizarre stalking, and to pursuing his unrequited love toward Marguerite, despite the fact that he is married and has two grown children.
With excellent performance, the story unfolds in a deliciously gripping manner, regardless sometimes the characters' spontaneous behaviors are hard to explain and plot development seems hard to believe. The film has its remarkable magic to intrigue the audience from scene to scene, and it rarely goes the way as one expects, until the very end of the film.
Director Alain Resnais explains his leitmotif eloquently:
"To me, this title (Wild Grass) seemed to correspond to these characters who follow totally unreasonable impulses, like those seeds that make the most of cracks in the asphalt in the city or in a stone wall in the country and grow where they are the least expected to."
Certainly, this can be said about his film itself—a poetry that the least you expect to read in a cinema.