Mélo ★★★

A key transitional text for Resnais, I'm told, moving from his more "serious" work of the 1960s to his more playful work here. This is a very heavy text, however. Perhaps too heavy, and I'm not sure what to make of Sabine Azema's character: plight of woman tragedy or trading in somewhat mysognist tones? She's (necessarily) abandoned for the third act (as marked by the curtains), but I'm not sure whether Resnais (or the play) treats her as somewhat of a plot point more than a character.

What's fascinating (to me at least) is Resnais's defining trademark as a filmmaker has always been his editing patterns between dissociative spaces (whether the open 25 minutes of Hiroshima Mon Amour or the back-and-forth play dialogues of You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet!). Here - the editing is all but economic - every scene takes place in exactly one room. Resnais's camera movements are thus mostly in favor of the beats of the script, highlighting the emotions. It's almost positively him making an anti-Resnais film: André Dussollier's epic monologue about the concert is the kind of thing cinema was built for; instead Resnais leaves it on a completely static close-up. That is not to say the film isn't interesting to look at; the dance club with its doubled mirror makes for a truly fascinating image for that scene, which smartly allows Resnais to compose without having to do much editing.

Report this review