Sunday, March 02, 2014

Resnais's Science Fiction

Providence, Alain Resnais, 1977
It's right to talk about the science-fiction element in Resnais. But it's also wrong, because he is the only film-maker to convey the feeling that he has already reached a world which in other people's eyes is still futuristic. In other words he is the only one to know that we are already in the age where science-fiction has become reality. In short, Alain Resnais is the only one of us who truly lives in 1959. With him the word 'science·fiction' loses all its pejorative and childish associations because Resnais is able to see the modern world as it is. Like the science-fiction writers he is able to show us all that is frightening in it, but also all that is human. Unlike the Fritz Lang of Metropolis or the Jules Verne of Cinq cents millions de Ia Begum, unlike the classic notion of science-fiction as expressed by a Bradbury or a Lovecraft or even a Van Vogt - all reactionaries in the end - it is very obvious that Resnais possesses the great originality of not reacting inside science-fiction. Not only does he opt for this modern and futuristic world, not only does he accept it, but he analyses it deeply, with lucidity and with love. Since this is the world in which we live and love, then for Resnais it is this world that is good, just and true.


Resnais is an agnostic. If there is a God he believes in, it's worse than St Thomas Aquinas's. His attitude is this: perhaps God exists, perhaps there is an explanation for everything, but there's nothing that allows us to be sure of it.

—Jacques Rivette, in conversation with the editors of Cahiers du Cinema, issue 97, July 1959. From Jim Heller's Cahiers Du CinĂ©ma, the 1950s: Neo-realism, Hollywood, New Wave.

Alain Resnais was 91

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