Les Herbes folles

(Wild Grass)

Les Herbes folles, poster artNow in his late 80s, and over six decades after he made his first film, Alain Resnais shows no signs of having lost any of the artistic audacity that made films like Night And Fog, Hiroshima mon amour, Last Year At Marienbad and Providence classics of modern(ist) cinema.

Taken from a novel by Christian Gailly entitled The Incident, the film explores with enormous wit, elegance and insight how one small, seemingly trivial event – the theft of a woman’s purse – can lead, by the most improbable and digressive of routes, to something comparatively very substantial and significant: a matter, in fact, of lives and deaths. The purse in question belongs to dentist Marguerite (Sabine Azéma), and it is found, devoid of money and cards, by Georges (André Dussollier), who we presently learn is undergoing a mid-life crisis that makes him indecisive, sometimes reluctant to perform even the simplest of tasks (such as phoning the owner of a stolen purse to reassure her that it’s been found), and prone to sudden outbursts of almost homicidal irritability.

The theft and discovery of the purse brings not only these characters together in a weird and wonderful story (related by a narrator sometimes reliable, sometimes not), but also Georges’ wife (Anne Consigny), a policeman (Mathieu Amalric), Marguerite’s friend and clinic partner (Emmanuelle Devos), and sundry others. In other words, it’s one of Resnais’ more discursive pieces, gradually broadening out from the obsessive and often perverse mindscape of Georges to include a range of idiosyncracies, all dealt with with such a light touch that eventually the film quite literally spirals off into the ether, as exhilaratingly as one of the countless crane shots that discreetly litter the movie.

What’s it all about? Ageing, passion, doubt, the need to let off steam, the desire to feel loved, the self-protective instinct; love, pain and the whole damn thing. If that sounds too much for one movie, remember how Resnais’ Mon Oncle d’Amérique contrived to suggest the workings of the world through the microcosm of a rat’s cage. 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 London

Marguerite Muir est à Paris pour acheter des chaussures chez son chausseur préféré. En sortant du magasin, elle se fait voler son sac. N’ayant plus un sous vaillant, elle retourne dans le magasin et se fait rembourser ses chaussures. Mais son sac n’est pas perdu pour tout le monde...

Prix exceptionnel du Jury à Cannes en 2009, Les Herbes folles est le nouveau film du jeune réalisateur de 86 ans, Alain Resnais... Plus que jamais jeune d’esprit, le cinéaste s’offre le plaisir d’un film léger au climat étrange.

Basé sur un livre de Christian Gailly, L’Incident, livre qui se joue des dialogues et de l’écriture, le film se veut aussi une épure cinématographique dans laquelle fond et forme se mêlent dans une sorte de divertissement futile qui laisse la place aux incidents plus qu’aux personnages.

Comme dans tous les films d’Alain Resnais, on retrouve bien sûr une palette de comédiens formidables avec en tête un André Dussollier oscillant avec aisance entre la douceur et la colère tandis que Sabine Azéma se glisse une fois de plus dans un personnage de femme entre originalité, force et fragilité.

Le tout fonctionne plutôt bien même si le rythme semble parfois suspendu aux incidents qui se succèdent plutôt qu’à une réelle temporalité de l’ensemble.”

– Eric van Cutsem, Cinopsis

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