Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Wild grass, not weeds.Aug. 25 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
There is a fair amount of sheer whimsy in the film--a characteristic Nouvelle Vague feature that sometimes works, coming across as fresh and unexpected, and sometimes sort of falls flat, seeming merely throwaway, unserious.
But the film as a whole I found fascinating and wonderfully suggestive, particularly its guiding metaphor. This compares wild grass--uncultivated, uncared for, appearing in and around things of more usefulness (a paradigm case insisted upon by the film's opening credits is that of grass growing in cracks of pavement and tarmac)--to stray relationships, equally unplanned and uncultivated, that can sprout up in the cracks of more ordered segments of life, out of seemingly trivial encounters.
The central characters in Herbes Folles are not friends, not business acquaintances, not neighbors, not lovers (even Truffaut's famous menage a trois in Jules et Jim has more solid substance than what Resnais offers up here, though clearly we're dealing with similar inspirations and approaches)--their relationship has no rationale, no name, so it has no rules or accepted conventions, either. This makes it fraught, susceptible to endless hesitations and uncertainties, second guessings and regrets--in fact its very pointlessness renders it curiously intense, there being no established roles available to fall back into in case of missteps, the way an unsteady acrobat can drop into a net.
In this respect, the film is actually about freshness and unexpectedness: these aren't just inherited tics of a French film school. I found Resnais here to be thought-provoking in the same way that Dostoevsky is thought-provoking: people and their relationships are shown as fundamentally unpredictable, mysterious even to themselves.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Welcome Back to the Wonderfully Confusing World of Alain ResnaisOct. 30 2010
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WILD GRASS (LES HERBES FOLLES) is based on the novel 'L'incident' by Christian Gailly, a writer who delights in taking simple incidents and pushing them to the extremes of climax beyond which few would ever dream. But Alain Resnais has taken this novel (adapted by Alex Reval and Laurent Herbiet), infused it with his own characteristic joy of playing reality versus imagination, memory versus illusion, and has come up with a film that will likely have a limited audience, but for those who delight in letting go and simply flying along with the imagination of a genius or two, then WILD GRASS will satisfy and more.
The story is a romance in the manner of a hesitation waltz. The story is narrated (by Edouard Baer) to give the opening aspects of the story momentum. Marguerite Muir (Sabine Azéma), a dentist and Spitfire pilot, has just purchased shoes and leaves the store when her handbag is snatched by a running thief. Later, the aging Georges Palet (André Dussollier) finds a red wallet in a parking lot, examines the contents, struggles with the burden of what to do, and finally turns the wallet in to the police, Bernard de Bordeaux (Mathieu Amalric) who takes his name in case there is a reward. Georges returns home to his wife Suzanne (Anne Consigny), who understands that Georges' strange behavior since his father's recent death may be enhanced by a new predicament: Georges is worried about the incident. He places telephone calls to Marguerite, visits her home, writers her letters - all of which confounds him as to his obsession with the woman he has never met. Georges family (he has two children) find his preoccupation strange and indeed Georges seems to have a dark secret from his past that causes him to have minor verbal explosions that seem wholly inappropriate. The incident becomes his life.
Meanwhile Marguerite shares her 'stalker' with her fellow dental assistant Josepha (Emmanuelle Devos) who attempts to manage Marguerite's change in behavior. Marguerite now is the one who needs to know more about Georges and stalks him. Ultimately Marguerite invites Georges to accompany her and her fellow pilots on a practice flight and a wildly entertaining practice flight game ensues: both Georges and Marguerite navigate the social protocols of giving and acknowledging appreciation and this bizarre catch as catch can romance comes to a Hollywood end - complete with flashbacks to old films etc. The audience is left to figure out just what has really happened - is this a wild love story on a collision course or is it simply a pair of fantasias played by two strange, emotionally isolated, and bored people, longing for life to perk up a bit?
Just as the title WILD GRASS suggests, little incidents (or invasions of wild grass into cracks and interstices quite by accident) can cause a butterfly effect and that is where the now 87 year old Resnais feels most at home. The irresistibly colorful cinematography is courtesy Eric Gautier and the perfect musical scoring is by Mark Snow. The danger in any kind of surrealism theme is that the audience becomes concerned that much of it doesn't make since. And so it is here, where even with the aid of the narrator there are many twists and turns that seem simply flights of fancy - and they probably are! Grady Harp, October 10
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Filled with a playful love of the possibilities of cinema, but not quite successfulSept. 10 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Alain Resnais' Wild Grass is one of those cases where I liked the film-making but didn't care as much for the film. Resnais' playful love of the possibilities of cinema shines through, but the film never really makes enough of its subversion of a standard romantic comedy setup as Andre Dussolier discovers Sabine Azema's stolen wallet and becomes increasingly obsessed with her until he goes too far and is warned off by the police - only for her to find herself missing the attention and start to become obsessed with him. The characters behave with pleasing irrationality just as they tend to do in the rather messy real world, and both have their share of flaws. Dussolier in particular may or may not have a dark criminal past (or it may simply be an example of his compulsive need to turn his life into a tragedy to overcome), but the details are left deliberately vague. Yet for all the stylistic polish and panache it still feels not fully formed. Although an adaptation of Christian Gailly's L'Incident, it's the kind of idea you'd expect his On Connait la Chanson writers Agnes Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri to come up with, and you can't help suspecting they'd have found much more in the material than Resnais does. Both leads have been better in their previous pairings, with Dussolier faring best here by virtue of having the most layered character, but Anne Consigny shines in the thankless role of his wife and Mathieu Amalric has a nice supporting role as a policeman, briefly forming half of a comic double-act with Michel Vuillermoz in one scene. While it's never really as good as it could have been, it's certainly no chore to sit through, and it does throw in one of the most memorable non-sequiter endings in years as a brief postscript to its already off the beaten track Biggles Flies Undone climax.
Alain Resnais's Bizarre Gem.July 28 2015
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Alain Resnais's genius is more to nibble on than "Wild Grass."
To say the least what a concept: make a movie based on gut instincts and one's personal vision, rather than common sense and rationality. Some might call Resnais's movies "surrealism" yet that's passé. Bizarre, off the wall, eccentric, none of those terms also fail to describe his film and cinematography art. Oh, okay, I'll just call it entertaining. That's a simple enough concept, to describe this cutting edge film, excuse me, the edge beyond the cutting; to say the least "Wild Grass" is out there.
This movie starts out with actress Sabine Azema, playing Marguerite Muir, buying a new pair of shoes. Once she gets to the garage, a thief steals her pocketbook. It seems Muir does not want to chase the thief in her new pair of shoes. Her pocketbook falls to the garage floor where it's picked up by a stranger, Andre Dussollier, playing the character Georges Palet. Not knowing what to do, he opens the pocketbook, sees the name, and ends up surrendering it to the police.
The bizarre adventure starts. And bizarre is putting this movie mildly. Yet Director Resnais wants the viewer to see and feel what happens next. A true inventor Resnais uses internet technology, masking, movie technology, the camera, and graphic arts technology with a Spitfire airplane and car, all wrapped in one movie ball.
It seems as if Resnais wanted to follow the French movie making tradition, and push it into the next Century. That's what he did, pushed the envelope pass Goddard, and Monet. Yes, this is an art movie, yet it's more than that. It's more like a visual movie told with images.
For those who enjoy cutting edge movies, those looking for something new and entertaining, "Wild Grass" fits the bill.
The element of fantasyFeb. 22 2015
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Resnais is a great, and I want to give his intellect due credit. A reading undermentioned in the reviews is the notion that the entire film could be a fantasy and/or a movie within a movie.
There is a moment near the end when we are shown, again, the sequence of the purse-snatching followed by Georges in the parking lot picking up the wallet. At that moment it seems nearly obvious that he has possibly fantasized all that preceded this cinematic moment (and all that followed his finding of the wallet), a fantasy about the stranger whose wallet he holds.
As well, we've got the cinematic element. Georges goes to the cinema (and we hear the 20th Century Fox theme music, loudly, as he exits), then again toward the end we hear the same, only this time as part of the Wild Grass soundtrack. An homage to cinema perhaps, but also, given the fantasy element throughout, suggestive of fantasy.
Both characters, too, are caught up in fantasy: obsession, first his with her then hers with him. There is an element of non-reality to the film.
This is not the finest piece of filmmaking to exist, but it is far superior to 99% of the cr@p that comes out of Hollywood. What I take away is not its flaws but its ambiguity, its light touch, and its fantastic final scene.