With a surrealist spin on romantic comedy, Alain Resnais’ Wild Grass features fully realized characters wrapped up in life’s sublime silliness. It’s a playful film that tantalizes us as mystery deepens.
Love as adventure
If Georges Palet (Andre Dussollier) is caught up in imagination, Marguerite (Sabine Azema) is drawn in by empathy for her benevolent stalker, a man in his sixties with memory loss who yearns for some genuine adventure in life.
Marguerite, a 50-ish dentist weary of inflicting pain, falls in love with the idea of Georges falling in love with her. It all begins when she has her purse snatched one day by a rollerblader in a Paris shopping mall.
Her bright yellow bag floats through the air, fashionable and fanciful. Marguerite’s red wallet (which matches her shock of red hair), shows up empty of cash but intact near Georges’ car.
By the time Georges returns her wallet to the police, he is already enamored with the woman he’s never met. After all, she has a pilot’s license! The possibilities are endless.
Marguerite meets Georges
Marguerite calls Georges to thank him. When they finally meet, he deadpans, “You love me, then.”
The fact that Georges is married to a young wife Suzanne (Anne Consigny) is almost irrelevant. As the balance of power shifts and Marguerite pursues Georges, she befriends Suzanne and inserts herself as a friend of the family.
With many asides and allusions, Wild Grass is worth seeing twice to savor its complexity. It doesn’t come across as a heavy film though with its flights of imagination, action and color. Wild Grass’characters are loveable, and their adventures treat us to an idealistic palette of “what if.”
Flight of whimsy
Marguerite returns to her vintage World War II Spitfire after a long absence. Especially charming is a scene where the flight crew arrives to serenade her as she sleeps in the bosom of the cockpit.
As the heroine soars over a patchwork of farmland, Resnais conjures a kooky kaleidoscope aimed at life. Eric Gautier’s cinematography is sensual and mind-bending.
Wild Grass transcends ordinary reality. Is the unlived life worth living after all?
If you like Wild Grass, you might enjoy: The Secret in Their Eyes.
Wild Grass 2009 / PG / 1 hour, 53 min
Cast Overview: Sabine Azema, Andre Dussollier, Anne Consigny, Emmanuelle Devos, Mathieu Amalric, Michael Vuillermoz, Edouard Baer
Director: Alain Resnais
Language: French with English subtitles
Genre: Romantic Comedy