Alain Resnais's third feature and first color film once again concerns memory. Helene (Delphine Seyrig) is a widow who sells antiques from her Boulogne-sur-Mer apartment. She shares the place with her eccentric filmmaker stepson, Bernard (Jean-Baptiste Thierree), a 22-month veteran of the
Algerian War, during which he took part in the torture and murder of a young woman named Muriel. Bernard is haunted by the memory of Muriel, spending much time watching a grainy 8mm film of her and filming the surroundings in his neighborhood. He talks of Muriel to Helene, who assumes the woman is
a girl friend she has yet to meet. Helene, meanwhile, is reunited with a past lover, Alphonse (Jean-Pierre Kerien), another veteran of Algeria, but they cannot recapture what they once had, if they had anything at all. Alphonse arrives at Helene's with his mistress, Francoise (Nita Klein), whom he
introduces as his niece. While Helene, her present lover, de Smoke (Claude Sainval), and Alphonse try to sort out their emotions, Francoise shows an attraction to Bernard, who is involved with Marie-Dominique (Martine Vatel). MURIEL marked the second time Resnais worked with screenwriter Jean
Cayrol, who previously contributed the commentary for Resnais's short documentary masterpiece NIGHT AND FOG. Their collaboration here produced a technical and thematic masterpiece that makes brilliant and confounding use of montage, sound construction, overlapping dialogue, and color photography.
With MURIEL, Resnais' true filmmaking style had finally begun to emerge, employing characters who are real people (not named after cities or designated by letters) with memories that cut deeply into their personalities and relationships.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Alain Resnais's third feature and first color film once again concerns memory. Helene (Delphine Seyrig) is a widow who sells antiques from her Boulogne-sur-Mer apartment. She shares the place with her eccentric filmmaker stepson, Bernard (Jean-Baptiste Thi… (more)