Wild Grass(Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 10.26.2010)
88-year-old director Alain Resnais has gradually evolved from heavily arty films like Last Year at Marienbad -- still his masterpiece -- to considerably lighter (though still arty) fare. In this oddball anti-romance, the protagonists meet cute when the wallet of Marguerite (Sabine Azéma) is discovered by Georges (André Dussollier). He is drawn to her despite knowing almost nothing about her and, while she initially considers him a nuisance, she slowly gives in to his attentions, only for him to lose interest. Further complications are added by Georges’ understanding wife (Anne Consigny) and Marguerite’s best friend (the sublime Emmanuel Davos), steering the film decidedly clear of the usual romcom clichés, French or otherwise. That the protagonists are middle-aged yet act like impetuous adolescents makes Wild Grass even quirkier.
Alternately charming and infuriating (I wanted to slap Georges several times), Wild Grass is always fascinating for the chances it takes, even when they don’t quite work (ie. the ending). Enhancing Resnais’s magic are the beautiful cinematography of Eric Gautier, which accentuates the artificiality the characters’ milieu, and the jazzy score by Mark Snow. The only extra is a short, delightful interview with Jacques Saulnier, Resnais’ longtime production designer. -- Michael Adams