Providence ★★★½

As Oedipal family insanity.
Drama run round
The bombs lurk beyond.
Go forth in peace.

This is so far back in my head I don’t really have a memory for this film’s specifics anymore, besides being one of the shoddiest DCPs I can recall (in defense, doing that weird Resnais-style/late 1960s bright light look must be a nightmare to figure out how to transfer, but this was blotchy throughout). The film’s illusive combining of dreams and narrative was quite enjoyable, and sort of has a rhythmic way it works through various scenarios of the author’s head. I’m not sure it particularly adds up to anything—a lot of Oedipal drama as it tries to concoct strange fantasies for its characters—but like much of the Resnais I’ve encountered, he seems to be more of a “fun” filmmaker than something like Night and Fog and Hiroshima Mon Amour would suggest. There are harder edges in this one, as the United Kingdom seems to be falling into a totalitarian state, sounds of bombs always hinting in the background, but overall it’s a pleasantly strange world, and I think Dirk Bogarde, Ellen Burstyn, and Elaine Stritch (!) really sell these scenarios. The ending kind of left me a bit cold, so perhaps one I can revisit in the future, and hopefully in a better transfer (or a print please).

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