Resnais, Alain

(1922- )
   Cinematographer, director, and editor. Alain Resnais began experimenting with filmmaking at the age of fourteen. He studied film at the Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques (IDHEC) before becoming a filmmaker. While there, he took courses with the avant-garde filmmaker and theorist Jean Epstein. Epstein's theories, particularly those concerning film's capacity to render the mental life of a character or an age, seem to have resonated quite strongly with Resnais, and his filmmaking style would show the influence of Epstein's work. Resnais's first film was the short documentary Van Gogh (1948), which won an Academy Award. It was followed by the shorts Gaugin (1950) and Guernica (1950). He continued to focus on the fine arts in Les statues meurent aussi (1953), a documentary about African art that earned him the Prix Jean-Vigo. The short Toute la mémoire du monde (1956), a documentary on France's Bibliothèque Nationale, is an early example of Resnais's long-term interest in the complexities of memory, evidence of the influence of Epstein. His renowned documentary on the Holocaust, Nuit et brouillard (1955), has been lauded for its rich contemplation of human memory and trauma, as is his most famous feature film, Hiroshima mon amour (1959), which was based on the script by the novelist and filmmaker Marguerite Duras. These two films together point to the particular way in which memory and mental life have been rendered in Resnais's work, through an exploration of war and the mental traces it leaves, from trauma and repression to the process of memorialization. Resnais's innovative use of fragmented narrative, montage, and interspersed documentary footage in Hiroshima mon amour are a case in point, and the film attracted wide critical attention and sparked his association with the New Wave. The film won the Film Writers Award at Cannes, though it was initially excluded from the program for political reasons.
   Alain Robbe-Grillet, one of the inventors of le nouveau roman (the "new novel"), scripted Resnais's second feature, L'Année dernière à Marienbad (1961), which won a Golden Lion at Venice. This film is also influenced by Epstein's theories as it attempts to represent the effects of psychological trauma on film. While the role of war is not evident in this film, some critics, Lynn Higgins among them, have argued that the film is about the Algerian War, which functions as the ultimate repressed trauma so repressed the viewer never actually gets to it. It may also be worth noting that the film was made in a climate of censorship.
   Resnais's third feature,Muriel ou le temps d'un retour (1963), reiterates the theme of memory and explores the way in which the past encroaches on the present and points to the other theme in Resnais's films—that of war. Like Jean-Luc Godard 's Le petit soldat (1963), it recalls French practices of torture during the Algerian War.
   Resnais later directed La guerre est finie (1966), the sketch "Claude Ridder" for Loin du Vietnam (1967), Je t'aime, je t'aime (1968), the sketch "Wall Street" for L'an 01 (1973), and Stavinsky (1974). Resnais won Césars for Best Film and Best Director for his English-language film Providence (1977), then won the Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes for Mon oncle d'Amérique (1980). He also directed La vie est un roman (1983), L'amour à mort (1984), Mélo (1986), and I want to go home (1989). Resnais won Césars for Best Film and Best Director for the two-part film, Smoking/No Smoking (1993), and a César for Best Film for the musical comedy On connaît la chanson (1997). His latest film to date is another musical, Pas sur la bouche (2003). He is considered one of France's major auteurs.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. . 2007.

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  • Resnais, Alain — born June 3, 1922, Vannes, France French film director. After studying at the French cinema school IDHEC, he made short films on the visual arts (Van Gogh [1948]) and documentaries (Night and Fog [1956]). His first feature film, Hiroshima mon… …   Universalium

  • Resnais, Alain — (1922 )    Cinematographer, director, and editor. Alain Resnais began experimenting with filmmaking at the age of fourteen. He studied film at the Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques (IDHEC) before becoming a filmmaker. While there, he… …   Guide to cinema

  • Resnais, Alain — (June 3, 1922, Vannes, Morbihan, France )    A pharmacist s son, he has had a passion for com­ics, popular literature, and cinema since his child­hood. He directed his first 8 mm amateur shorts at age thirteen. He settled in Paris in 1937 and… …   Encyclopedia of French film directors

  • Resnais, Alain — ► (n. 1922) Director cinematográfico francés. En su cine, perfectamente construido, se aprecia una constante temática: el valor y la importancia del recuerdo dentro de la vida humana. Se dio a conocer a partir de Noche y niebla (1955), un… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Resnais, Alain — (1922 )    cinematographer    Born in Vannes, Alain Resnais made his debut with short subject films of rare aesthetic quality: Van Gogh (1948), Guernica (1950), and the disturbing Nuit et Brouillard (Night and Fog) (1956). But the strength of his …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Resnais, Alain —  (1922–) French film director …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Resnais — Resnais, Alain …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Resnais — Alain Resnais Alain Resnais Naissance 3 juin 1922 (87 ans) Vannes (France) Nationalité(s) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Resnais — Alain Resnais (* 3. Juni 1922 in Vannes, Frankreich) ist ein französischer Filmregisseur. Resnais ist ein Regisseur der Nouvelle Vague. Bereits als Jugendlicher experimentierte er mit Schmalfilm, studierte Film in Paris und drehte nach dem Krieg… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alain Resnais — junto a Juliette Binoche en la entrega de los Premios César de 1998. Alain Resnais ([alɛ̃ rɛnɛ]; Vannes, 3 de junio de 1922) es un director, guionista de ci …   Wikipedia Español

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