x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Wild Grass

The director started his career by turning the film world on its ear and he hasn't relented for some 50 years.

There are two ways of looking at Wild Grass, the latest from the 87-year-old enfant terrible behind Hiroshima Mon Amour and Last Year at Marienbad, Alain Resnais. One is that it's a sparkling and delightfully offbeat romantic melodrama. The other is that it's a white-hot ray of craziness zapping into your head. In either case, it's terrific stuff. Andre Dussollier stars as Georges, a grouchy family man with a terrible secret - or, at least, a very messed-up interior monologue - who finds a purse in the street. Inside is a photo and contact information for Marguerite (Resnais's long-term partner Sabine Azema), a dentist with a pilot's license. Georges is instantly obsessed: he starts stalking Marguerite in the most awkward fashion possible, leaving interminable answerphone messages and trying to tamper with her post. So begins a courtship which is at once touching and immensely creepy. Marguerite gets the police involved, but the police, in the shape of Mathieu Amalric, take an unhelpfully philosophical view of her predicament. Her fellow dentist warns her away from Georges but seems fascinated by him herself. And why does Georges's graceful wife keep indulging the bee in his bonnet? After a while, all the characters start to seem equally psychotic and one starts wishing they would just go away. Which they promptly do, in a closing sequence as baffling as anything in recent cinema. Did the story mean anything? Was the whole thing just an arty game of consequences? It's a tribute to Resnais' elusive style that one can ask this question and still rate the film as one of 2009's most enjoyable.

Wild Grass screens today at 6.30pm at Cinestar 4, Marina Mall and tomorrow at 4pm at the Grand Abu Dhabi Mall.