Muriel ou le temps d’un retour (1963)

Muriel ou le temps d’un retour
Directed by Alain Resnais
Written by Jean Cayrol
Argos Films/Alpha Productions/Les Films de la Pleiade/etc.
First viewing/Netflix rental


“A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.” ― Mark Twain

A potentially haunting film about memory was marred for me by the dissonant music and constant cutting.

All of the principals are trying and failing to cope with painful past.  Helene Aughain (Delphine Seyrig) invites Alphonse Noyard to visit her in the seaside town of Boulogne.  He arrives with his beautiful young “niece” in tow.  Helene and Alphone were lovers during the War.  Their affair was tumultuous and both suffered from wartime trauma.  Helene lives with her stepson Bernard, who has been home for eight months after service in Algeria.  He may never recover from his involvement in the torture of a woman named Muriel.

Things don’t go well for anyone involved.

Just when you think you might be understanding the plot, Resnais starts frenetically cutting between random incidents in the day of the various characters.  This movie also features a lot of very irritating dissonant soprano opera singing.  I can understand why a lot of people like this film more than I do but I was more annoyed than anything else.