L’Amour à Mort (Love Unto Death) is one of the more difficult Resnais films of the 80s. Featuring a core of actors from La Vie Est un Roman who would also go on to make Mélo (and are still working with Resnais on his most recent films), the film has a chamber mood, an enclosed and tightly constructed meditation on two complex subjects – love and death.
Elisabeth (Sabine Azéma) and Simon (Pierre Arditi) have been together as a couple for only a few months when Simon dies. To everyone’s surprise he revives after a few minutes and appears to be quite healthy again. The couple’s relationship appears to become more intense, but Simon is unable to come to terms with his near-death experience, feeling an irresistible desire to withdraw from life. Their friends, a married couple of Protestant pastors, Judith (Fanny Ardant) and Jérôme (André Dussollier) try to rationalise how Simon and Elisabeth must feel, offering guidance and consolation through theological and philosophical discussions, but the couple are beyond the reach of human understanding or explanation, and the pervasive and persuasive music of ‘the other’, of a love beyond death, exerts an irresistible attraction. Read More »