Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Muriel ou Le Temps d’un Retour
France/Italy, 1963. Argos Films, Alpha Productions, Eclair, Les Films de la Pleiade, Dear Film Produzione. Screenplay by Jean Cayrol. Cinematography by Sacha Vierny. Produced by Anatole Dauman. Music by Hans Werner Henze. Production Design by Jacques Saulnier. Costume Design by Lucille Mussini. Film Editing by Kenout Peltier, Eric Pluet.
Alain Resnais once again employs the theme of memory and regret in a daring and experimental piece, reuniting with his Marienbad star Delphine Seyrig. She lives with her stepson in a Paris flat and is excited to reunite with an old lover who shows up at her apartment with a mistress he passes off as his niece. Seyrig’s stepson is a veteran of the Algerian war whose regrets from that experience continue to haunt him. The conversations eventually spill out of the apartment as the emotional weight of what all these characters are going through can no longer be contained in one space, captured by Resnais in jauntily performed scenes that are often cut together without the kind of visual logic that you expect from a chamber piece. The emotions are the turning points and not the information, meaning that blocking changes suddenly and cuts are made in fresh and new ways. The result is not the sexy perfection of Hiroshima, Mon Amour, but it’s a handsome and effective film that benefits greatly from Seyrig’s intelligently beautiful presence.
The Criterion Collection: #824
Venice Film Festival Award: Best Actress (Delphine Seyrig)