Wild Grass (Les Herbes Folles) Reviews
Non-sequiturs jar the audience concentration throughout the film and there is frequent use of symbolism. A broken fly along with an out of control plane, a man repainting his house as he tries to renovate himself. Some moments are absurd, like a party in the police station keeping officers from their duties or a dentist wilfully causing patients pain. The world is a random, crazy place.
The audience plays the role of observer, due to overhead shots or shots filming people from behind. The camera pans from one corner of the room to another and it is obvious several minutes have elapsed. The narrator shows the thoughts of the characters, their doubts, and second thoughts, instead of being an all-knowing voice. I think that these directorial strategies were instrumental in grabbing the attention of the audience and helping them relate to the characters.
Really, I don't
If this is the French New Wave, then I should start watching the Old Wave. In Wild Grass there is so little attention paid to good exposition that I found myself lost, wondering about the characters' relationships to each other even after the first act was a memory. And the performance by Andre Dussolier does little to reveal his character's motivations. Performances like these are good when the story is clear and solid, but Resnais's concentration is on that which is unclear, so the sum is a character who behaves strangely but whose motivations for his strangeness remain a mystery, unconnected to the random shots of weeds. And when he yells and snaps in a romantic story we wonder what the whole point is.
Overall, there are people who find this absurdist alienation interesting and refreshing, but I'm not one of them.