Wild Grass


STUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: Alain Resnais | CAST: André Dussollier, Sabine Azéma, Emmanuelle Devos, Mathieu Amalric, Anne Consigny
RELEASE DATE: 10/26/10 | PRICE: DVD $24.95
BONUSES: portrait of production designer Jacques Saulnier
SPECS: NR | 118 min. | Foreign-language comedy | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | French with English subtitles

Wild Grass comes from Alain Resnais, one of the oldest French New Wave filmmakers, who continues to create beautifully touching and challenging films at 88 years old. He no longer seems bent on provoking the viewer, but he still creates cinematic puzzles that are of a piece with his best-known early work (Hiroshima Mon Amour, Last Year at Marienbad). These days, however, his romantic leads are not in their 20s and 30s, but are 50- and 60-somethings.

The film’s plot concerns the peculiar non-romance that develops between a distinguished older married man (André Dussollier) and the woman (Sabine Azema) whose wallet he discovers after her purse is stolen. Resnais studies the way  Dussolier’s character fantasizes about Azema and how their very tame flirtation amounts to the most extreme l’amour fou.

Wild Grass is an admirable follow-up to Resnais’ last trio of films —Same Old SongNot on the LipsPrivate Fears in Public Places — which all have to do with romances between people “of a certain age.”

Resnais is still a rigorous filmmaker who presumes that the viewer will make the leaps of logic required for his journeys. In this movie, for instance, the characters’ romance is largely a product of their very fertile imaginations.

The colorful visuals, airy dialog and scrambled narrative all combine to make the film absolutely delightful, but the key element, as in all of Resnais’ later work, is in the charming ensemble cast, who do much to make an imagined romance seem real.

The sole bonus feature on the Wild Grass DVD is a portrait of veteran production designer Jacques Saulnier, whose 63 films include such Resnais works as Muriel and Last Year at Marienbad.