Time After Time: The Films of Alain Resnais

Mélo

Alain Resnais

A favourite film of Susan Sontag, who chose it for her Carte Blanche at our Cinematheque, this exquisite, stylized chamber drama (adapted from a 1929 play by Henry Bernstein) brought Resnais his greatest acclaim since Mon oncle d'Amérique. Reuniting the quartet of Sabine Azéma, Fanny Ardant, Pierre Arditi, and André Dussollier from L'Amour à mort (screening on July 31) and unfolding in a series of sumptuously authentic Art Deco sets, Mélo centres on two violinists who have been friends since their student days, one of whom betrays the other by seducing his wife. "Like Cocteau in Les Parents Terribles and Ichikawa in An Actor's Revenge, [Resnais] makes the theatrical cinematic, and the cinematic theatrical.… This is a masterpiece that uses as its point of departure the most hackneyed and familiar of melodramatic plots — the adulterous triangle and the attempted murder — and then makes it all seem brand new" (Jonathan Rosenbaum); "the unlikeliest of masterpieces.… Mélo proves that the stylized striptease of one actor revealing the most primal emotions can still be the greatest spectacle of all" (Stephen Harvey, Film Comment).

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