UPDATE: Last night, I watched this movie again. I pulled the DVD out of my movie cabinet after being disappointed with the film I had rented for that night. I picked up on a few elements that had previously eluded me. [Warning: SPOILERS coming!] The movie opens, before credits roll, with camera pushing in on what appears to be a primitive stone structure. Where? The middle of nowhere, apparently. No windows, just a door-shaped opening with no door visible. Though larger, this structure resembles what I saw in Ireland: stone "huts" where, centuries ago, monks went to meditate and fast, in hope of receiving ecstatic "visions." This may be the most subtle hint imaginable--Resnais presents no context for its "meaning" at all--that what we are about to see is all a dream, a fantasy, though we see contemporary France presented as a realistic physical environment. The story proper is introduced by an unidentified male narrator. In movies, this is called the Omniscient Narrator. But THIS narrator is an UNRELIABLE one, a device popular in written fiction. He can't tell us the exact address (he fumbles over details) of the shoe store Marguerite Muir (the lead female character, played by the director's life companion of the time) is shopping at--because her feet are unusual, you see, and require a very specific style and make of footwear. And Georges, the older, male protagonist, absolutely brilliantly performed by Andre Dussolier--what gives with him? He states, in internal monologue (voice-over), that he has lost the right to vote. He suggests he was once some master criminal, and cops always make him nervous. But the viewer is not given the least bit of "concrete" evidence that any of us this is true. A policeman describes him as a man of "about 50," but he appears to be at least 60. He claims to have been married for 30 years, but his wife is obviously too young for that to be true (unless he married her when she was ten!). Is he slipping deeply into dementia? The wife works in a piano sales showroom. Does Georges have a profession, other than being house husband? Could he be a writer of fiction? He owns a typewriter, but we hardly see him using it. Our narrator, who comes and goes, states that "If you write something, you come to believe it." And the movie's utterly inexplicable conclusion? It drives some (most?) viewers mad. It appears to me to be a trip into an alternative universe--or a different one, since the movie may well have commenced in an alternative universe!--where, inside an isolated, ancient-looking house, the occupants have all modern conveniences, including internet access. I absolutely love the look, the "feel," of this film, and the lush original score works superbly. GIVE THIS MOVIE A TRY!!
MY ORIGINAL REVIEW (2015): Any film directed by Alain Resnais at age 88 was a must for me to explore. After renting the DVD and falling in love with it, I had to own a copy to enjoy whenever I pleased. I am writing my review years after that purchase because I just screened the movie for good friends, and they were disappointed ("no coherent story"). First things first: "CRAZY GRASS" is the correct English translation of the original title. And appropriate! As I urged my friends the other day, you must let yourself go with the flow of the story. And there certainly is a story unfolding, whether events can be easily explained by logic or not. This is a Resnais flick, remember? I enjoyed the two films he completed after this project prior to his death, but with nowhere near my admiration for the flat out bravado filmmaking on display here. This movie is nothing less than a Master Class in filmmaking, presented by one of the true Masters. The framing of the compositions, the colors, the camera movement, all superb. The film glows with its own internal, semi-hallucinatory (okay, call it semi-crazy!) energy, like Peter Weir's earliest movies. Perhaps the key line is spoken by our unidentified narrator: "After the cinema, anything is possible." Or, in this instance, IN cinema anything is possible. Life will try to fill any available space with its energy, like the crazy grass sprouting in any little crack in the pavement. Or, as John Lennon wrote: "Life is what happens while you're making other plans." Georges and Marguerite never planned for their paths to cross, but a not uncommon incident of modern life planted the seed for their meeting. This movie is one of my very favorite films of the 21st Century, lovingly crafted by a Master whose work dates back to the middle of the previous one.