Wild Grass

Overview

Alain Resnais, one of the towering figures of the French New Wave, demonstrates he still has plenty to say in this drama based on a novel by Christian Gailly. Marguerite Sabine Azéma is a successful dentist with a busy practice and an offbeat hobby, flying small airplanes. One day, while running errands, Marguerite loses her wallet, and it's found by Georges André Dussollier, a seemingly happy man with a wife, Suzanne Anne Consigny, and two children Vladimir Consigny and Sara Forestier. As Georges looks through ...
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Overview

Alain Resnais, one of the towering figures of the French New Wave, demonstrates he still has plenty to say in this drama based on a novel by Christian Gailly. Marguerite Sabine Azéma is a successful dentist with a busy practice and an offbeat hobby, flying small airplanes. One day, while running errands, Marguerite loses her wallet, and it's found by Georges André Dussollier, a seemingly happy man with a wife, Suzanne Anne Consigny, and two children Vladimir Consigny and Sara Forestier. As Georges looks through the wallet and examines the photos of Marguerite, he finds he's fascinated with her and her life, and soon his curiosity about her becomes an obsession. Georges' attempts to integrate himself into Marguerite's life begin to alarm her, and she hires a private security team Mathieu Amalric and Michel Vuillermoz to keep him away, but Georges is determined that his new love for her will not be denied. Les Herbes Folles aka Wild Grass received its world premiere at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
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Special Features

The Portrait Of Production Designer Jacques Saulnier; ; Theatrical Trailer; Previews
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Imagine, if you will, the following scenario. Marguerite Sabine Azéma, a single, middle-aged female dentist in France, falls prey to a thief who swipes her handbag; her billfold subsequently turns up on the floor of a nearby parking garage. A passerby named Georges André Dussollier discovers the wallet; he's a vaguely intense, middle-aged husband, father, and grandfather. Glimpsing the stranger's photographs inside, he grows intrigued and enchanted, particularly when a pilot's license in the wallet reveals Marguerite's exotic hobby as an aviatrix. Georges turns the wallet over to the police, but when Marguerite phones Georges up to thank him, he asks to meet her. She refuses; he insists. And begins writing. And calling. And when those measures fail, he takes drastic action. This constitutes the basic setup of Alain Resnais' Wild Grass. Anyone could take an easy stab at what happens next, at this or at any other stage of the story. They would almost certainly be wrong. Resnais deliberately and shamelessly sets up and then undercuts our genre and narrative expectations time and again. When we think the film is about to evolve into a thriller, it hearkens off in the direction of cockeyed romance. When we think the film is about to sprint toward a traditional romantic crescendo, it evolves into a dark drama of misaligned self-deceptions. And so on and so forth. Resnais isn't interested in telling a conventional story here or even a completely coherent one -- he's interested in paying homage to the medium that has served him majestically over the past 50-plus years. As such, it should hardly come as a surprise that this film materialized in what is presumably the final decade of work by the Frenchman, who was 87 years old during the movie's production. Whether we have one or two additional Resnais films in the next ten years or Wild Grass ends up being his last, it clearly functions as an elegy to the medium, not unlike John Huston's The Dead or Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion. This works effortlessly in Resnais's hands, given his master's command of the form; he defies all potential accusations of pretentiousness by girding everything in a giddy, effervescent playfulness that suggests a twinkle in one eye -- an old trickster delighting in tugging the story and characters first one way, then the other -- and keeping his finger squarely on the audience's emotional pulse and expectations the entire time. The director fills the movie not simply with Brechtian alienation devices but with alienation devices that call our attention to cinema's ability to create and perpetuate myths for each viewer. The most obvious is a running voice-over by baritone-voiced Edouard Baer that recalls an identical trope in Todd Field's Little Children 2006 -- in the sense that it conveys the self-reflexive myths perceived by each of the two main characters, established as if they were in a conventional romantic novel with an inflated sense of their own destinies. At other times, Resnais hyper-literalizes the medium itself onscreen -- as with an iris-shot fade-out to Georges, standing alone at night outside of a neon cinema, or an impassioned kiss between two of the characters while the 20th Century Fox fanfare unfurls on the soundtrack and the title "Fin" French for "The End" appears on the screen -- ten minutes prior to the actual conclusion of the movie. And still at other times, the director slyly reminds the audience just how little we actually know about these two characters in which we've grown "emotionally invested" -- as when Georges grossly betrays Marguerite on a romantic level and thus reveals a rather nasty side of himself that we haven't seen before, and Marguerite both intuitively acknowledges what happened and fails to even deliver much of a response. We're left gasping at the lack of fallout, and thus made more aware of the conventions of the medium and the ease with which film itself sets up our expectations from decades of clichéd moviemaking. It wouldn't be spoiling any surprises to note that Resnais denies the audience a conventionally happy or otherwise emotionally satisfying ending; such a denouement, after all, would be drastically misaligned with the director's desire to subvert narrative conventions. What does emerge, however, is a potent verbal metaphor, both for cinema as a tool for the creation of myths, and for the self-perpetuated myth-making of the characters, that gains more depth and resonance the more one reflects on it. This sequence will probably leave the vast majority of viewers inherently dissatisfied, perhaps even furious at Resnais' refusal to tie up his narrative threads into a neat little package. The irony, of course, is that this anger would be better directed at the hundreds or thousands of prior filmmakers whom Resnais is implicitly skewering, who conditioned viewers to think in conventional narrative patterns in the first place.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/26/2010
  • UPC: 043396353107
  • Original Release: 2008
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:44:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Sabine Azéma Marguerite Muir
André Dussollier Georges Palet
Anne Consigny Suzanne
Emmanuelle Devos Josépha
Mathieu Amalric Bernard de Bordeaux
Michel Vuillermoz Lucien d'Orange
Edouard Baer Voice Only
Annie Cordy Neighbor
Sara Forestier Elodie
Nicolas Duvauchelle Jean-Mi
Vladimir Consigny Marcelin Palet
Dominique Rozan Sikorsky
Jean-Noel Broute Mickey
Elric Covarel-Garcia Marguerite's Acolyte
Valery Schatz Marguerite's Acolyte
Stéfan Godin Marguerite's Acolyte
Grégory Perrin Marguerite's Acolyte
Roger-Pierre Marcel Schwer
Paul Crauchet Dental Office Patient
Jean-Michel Ribes Dental Office Patient
Nathalie Kanoui Dental Office Patient
Adeline Ishiomin Dental Office Patient
Lisbeth Arazi Mornet Dental Office Patient
Francoise Gillard Shoe Saleslady
Magaly Godenaire Watch Saleslady
Rosine Cadoret Cinema Ticket Saleslady
Vincent Rivard Bartender
Dorothée Blanc Airline Passenger
Dorothée Blank Airline Passenger
Antonin Mineo Airline Passenger
Emilie Jeauffroy Airline Passenger
Patrick Mimoun Jean-Baptiste Larmeur
Isabelle des Courtils Madame Larmeur
Candice Charles Elodie Larmeur
Technical Credits
Alain Resnais Director
Jean-Marie Blondel Sound/Sound Designer
Jackie Budin Costumes/Costume Designer
Hervé de Luze Editor
Valerio de Paolis Co-producer
Éric Gautier Cinematographer
Gerard Hardy Sound/Sound Designer
Laurent Herbiet Screenwriter
Gerard Lamps Sound/Sound Designer
Jean-Louis Livi Producer
Alex Réval Screenwriter
Philippe Roux Production Manager
Julie Salvador Executive Producer
Jacques Saulnier Production Designer
Mark Snow Score Composer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Wild Grass
1. Scene 1 [3:16]
2. Scene 2 [3:50]
3. Scene 3 [2:12]
4. Scene 4 [4:41]
5. Scene 5 [4:28]
6. Scene 6 [4:52]
7. Scene 7 [3:03]
8. Scene 8 [3:13]
9. Scene 9 [2:35]
10. Scene 10 [4:27]
11. Scene 11 [3:03]
12. Scene 12 [1:33]
13. Scene 13 [4:23]
14. Scene 14 [2:44]
15. Scene 15 [3:14]
16. Scene 16 [4:27]
17. Scene 17 [2:38]
18. Scene 18 [3:21]
19. Scene 19 [3:25]
20. Scene 20 [4:43]
21. Scene 21 [5:06]
22. Scene 22 [4:02]
23. Scene 23 [2:01]
24. Scene 24 [3:44]
25. Scene 25 [2:29]
26. Scene 26 [3:28]
27. Scene 27 [3:26]
28. Scene 28 [9:21]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Wild Grass
   Play Movie
   Subtitles
      English
      Subtitles: Off
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Portrait Of Production Designer Jacques Saulnier
      Theatrical Trailer
      Previews
         Get Low
         The Pillars Of The Earth
         Coco Before Chanel
         The Triplets Of Belleville
         The Class
         It Might Get Loud
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