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France, 1968
Directed by Alain Resnais
Starring Claude Rich, Olga Georges-Picot, Anouk Ferjac
Screenplay by Alain Resnais, Jacques Sternberg
DCP. Approx 91 min. In French with English subtitles.

Recovering after a suicide attempt, Claude Rich (Best Actor, San Sebastian Film Festival) is obviously the perfect guinea pig for a sedulously anonymous corporation's tentative attempts at time travel – what could go wrong? After all, the mouse came out okay. And maybe, when he goes back a year, he can re-live one particular minute. Resnais’ switch into science fiction continues his theme of time (HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR, LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD) as Rich’s memories – thanks to the obligatory unaccounted-for glitch – flips back and forth in time in tiny bits and pieces, although returning again and again to a Riviera Beach and to a bed-sitter in Glasgow, sometimes in alternate, and even surreal, versions. Resnais’ highly experimental attempt to encompass a life totally via non-linear impressionism was a major influence on Michel Gondry’s ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND.


“A failed suicide agrees to become a guinea pig for scientists exploring time travel and is caught, not just in a given moment, but an infinite variety of given moments, all variations on one another. And time’s winged chariot will never come to his rescue. Resnais is obsessed with time, and perhaps with a profoundly Marxist sense of history the nightmare from which man is trying to awaken… People weren’t then ready for this quiet mixture of science fiction with a lovely story as subtle as anything in Rohmer or Rivette. But with Marker’s La Jetée and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, it is part of a holy trinity of meditations on the horrors of eternal life.”
– Raymond Durgnat

“There is a great deal to be moved by in JE T'AIME JE T'AMIME… The true subject is not what we know about the hero’s life, but what we can never hope to learn. Like the mouse that accompanies Rich for part of his time journey… he is locked into a past that is inexpressible and irredeemable, and the beauty of the film resides in its capacities to convince us of this. The emotional conviction of this intensity is felt behind and between the images more than within them, but we cannot deny its palpable presence.”
– Jonathan Rosenbaum

“Poetic…a sensationally well-edited succession of flashbacks. As a sci-fi love story it recalls Marker’s La Jetée and anticipates Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris remake.”
– J. Hoberman

“One of Resnais’ most underrated explorations of the tone of time and memory. On one level a witty sci-fi adventure, on another, on another a poetic apprehension of man’s helpless entrapment by time, perfectly summed up by the extraordinary last shot.”
– Tom Milne, Time Out

“One has never been more aware of Resnais exploring time through timing: matchless editing, an unfailing instinct for the duration of a shot.”
– Penelope Houston, Sight & Sound

Film Forum