Alain Resnais – Les herbes folles AKA Wild Grass (2009)


Alain Resnais demonstrates he still has plenty to say in this drama based on a novel by Christian Gailly. Marguerite (Sabine Azéma) is a successful dentist with a busy practice and an offbeat hobby, flying small airplanes. One day, while running errands, Marguerite loses her wallet, and it’s found by Georges (André Dussollier), a seemingly happy man with a wife, Suzanne (Anne Consigny), and two children (Vladimir Consigny and Sara Forestier). As Georges looks through the wallet and examines the photos of Marguerite, he finds he’s fascinated with her and her life, and soon his curiosity about her becomes an obsession. Georges’ attempts to integrate himself into Marguerite’s life begin to alarm her, and she hires a private security team (Mathieu Amalric and Michel Vuillermoz) to keep him away, but Georges is determined that his new love for her will not be denied. (Mark Deming)

This is a film whose pastel hues and intricate color coding (e.g., the multiple associations of blue with the hero, played by André Dussollier, and the various associations of red with at least two of the main women in the story, played by Sabine Azéma and Anne Consigny) may come even closer to comic-book images than those in I Want To Go Home. Wild Grass seems personal above all as an expression of Resnais’ (personal) shyness, although it doesn’t for me qualify as one of his masterpieces. It’s fascinating to ponder how his first two features as well as his last two to date focus on illicit passion, even though the blocking and frustration of that passion in the latter two films seems far more prominent (as it is in Muriel). What gives this odd provocation much of its thematic interest is the cheerful way the secondary characters (Dussollier’s wife, Azéma’s fellow dentist and best friend) become so warmly complicitous in not only tolerating but nurturing the mutual obsession between the two leads. (Jonathan Rosenbaum)

Subtitles:English, Spanish, Portuguese (Fansubs)