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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Muriel Ou Le Temps D'un Retour (1963)

A widow (Delphine Seyrig) who runs an antique shop out of her apartment is visited by a former lover (Jean Pierre Kerien). He brings along his "niece" (Nita Klein). Add her stepson (Jean Baptiste Thierree), just back from the Algerian war, to the mix and the tension runs high as ghosts from the past intrude on the present. Directed by Alain Resnais (LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD), this is a puzzle of a film and it moves so rapidly that it takes all of one's attention to fit the pieces together. The film is edited in such a way that one is never sure if certain scenes are happening as we watch or have already occurred. This was Resnais' third feature film and I actively loathed his first two (MARIENBAD and HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR) but this one grabbed me for some reason, maybe because it wasn't as abstract as the others though the narrative is far from linear. The film is about how the past is always with us and attempts to move on with our lives can never be successful until we confront that past. But some characters are so deluded that their past consists of lies and untruths (which have impacted others) and they continue to run away from their past rather than accept it and deal with it. There's an excellent atonal underscore by Hans Werner Henze. 

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