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In Time: The Films of Alain Resnais

Saturday, November 21, 2009
8:30 p.m. Je t’aime, je t’aime
Alain Resnais (France, 1968)

PFA Collection Print


Resnais’s brightest and bleakest film. I Love You, I Love You: the title promises naive romantic fervor, but the repetition proves ominous. A failed suicide agrees to become a guinea pig for scientists exploring time travel and is caught, not just in a given moment, but in an infinite variety of given moments, all variations on one another. And time’s winged chariot will never come to his rescue. It’s a science fiction tragedy in comic strip images. Resnais is obsessed with time, and perhaps with a profoundly Marxist sense of history as the nightmare from which man is trying to awaken. Ironically enough, Je t’aime was a good ten years before its time. People weren’t then ready for this quiet mixture of science fiction with a love story as subtle as anything in Rohmer or Rivette. But with Chris Marker’s La jetée and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris it is part of a holy trinity of meditations on the horrors of eternal life.

—Raymond Durgnat

• Written by Jacques Sternberg. Photographed by Jean Boffety. With Olga Georges-Picot, Claude Rich, Anouk Ferjac, Alain MacMoy. (91 mins, In French with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, PFA Collection, permission Les Grands Films Classiques)