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France, 1984
Directed by Alain Resnais
Starring Pierre Arditi, Sabine Azéma, Fanny Ardent
DCP. Approx. 92 min. In French with English subtitles.

“This haunting and rarely seen 1984 feature, Resnais’ third and final collaboration with screenwriter Jean Gruault, is one of his boldest experiments in musical form. Resnais commissioned avant-garde composer Hans Werner Henze, who previously wrote the score to MURIEL, to write a chamber piece consisting of 52 discontinuous short sections; until the film’s final shot, when this music is finally combined with the action, it is performed exclusively between scenes, over a black background that is most often traversed by drifting motes resembling snowflakes.The plot, featuring the same actors as Resnais’s subsequent MÉLO, is a love story about an archaeologist (Pierre Arditi) who is pronounced dead by a doctor in the film’s first scene only to come back to life a few moments later; though he and his devoted wife (Sabine Azema) are atheists, they are subsequently preoccupied with the meaning and reality of death and how this will or won’t separate them, which they discuss with a couple who are their friends and neighbors (Andre Dussollier and Fanny Ardant), both Lutheran ministers.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum

Film Forum