Wild Grass - Les herbes folle dir. Alain Resnais
Starring: Andre Dussolier, Sabine Azema, Anne Consigny, Emmanuelle Delos and Mathieu Amairic.
By Greg Klymkiw
This movie makes no sense.
Purporting to tell the story of George Palet (Andre Dussolier), a seemingly benign old man who finds an abandoned wallet near his car in a parking garage, "Wild Grass" never, at any point, betrays a smidgen of knowing what it's supposed to be about. We most certainly have no idea who the main character is. Very quickly after he finds the wallet, however, we sense he might be a psychopath as he ogles two sexy women and complains in his thoughts about their provocative garb. He even contemplates murdering one of them.
Ah, we think, a thriller.
When he examines the wallet and sees the picture of its owner Marguerite Muir (Sabine Azema), a dour, plain, oily-faced, frizzy-haired carrot top, he becomes instantly smitten with her lack of charm. We're now no longer convinced he's a psycho, but a hapless brick head.
As George mulls over what to do with the wallet - should he deliver it directly to her or take it to the police - we're delivered the most idiotic bit of information imaginable. It would seem Marguerite is a dentist AND an aviatrix. Well, in the movies, anything is possible, so we're willing to be mildly intrigued in spite of smelling more than a few unpleasant wafts of what an irredeemable piece of pretentious crap this is going to be.
Upon deciding he must take the wallet to the police, he encounters Bernard de Bordeaux (Mathieu Amairic), a compassionate desk sergeant who immediately senses that George is indeed troubled. At this point, more than a few hints have been dropped that George might very well be insane.
Hmm. Maybe this IS going to be a thriller - especially when George becomes obsessed with Marguerite and proceeds to harass her on the telephone, stalk her and demand that she meet him face-to-face. She refuses, as she has already thanked him once. However, George keeps insisting that his act of kindness DEMANDS a face-to-face meeting.
Well, he might be crazy, but perhaps he's not a psychopath. In fact, he might just be a lonely old man wanting to reach out to an individual who APPEARS in her photo to be someone who needs him - though, in reality, due to his badgering, she most definitely needs him like a cluster of genital warts on her mons veneris.
When we discover George is obsessed with meeting and seducing the frizz-haired frump in spite of being married to the young, sexy Suzanne (Anne Consigny), a wife who is devoted to him, puts up with his dour nature AND appears to not notice how old and ugly he is, we are for certain convinced he is completely out of his mind.
When he slashes all the tires on Marguerite's car in order to stop her from going to work so he can force himself upon her and then, not having the nerve to face her, he leaves a note of apology and explanation on her windshield, it becomes plainly apparent that this movie is going nowhere fast - especially when the frump begins to obsess over George.
At one point, Marguerite becomes so obsessed with George that she arranges a meeting with Suzanne and the two of them bond while - I kid you not - George seduces Marguerite's mind-numbingly sexy colleague Josepha (Emmanuelle Delos), a dentist who looks like she morphed off a Vogue magazine cover.
At this point, the film becomes so increasingly obtuse, precious and pretentious that the only way to keep watching it is to nail your feet to the floor,
This loathsome pile of artsy-fartsy garbage not only won a Jury Prize at the Cannes film festival, but garnered quite a few stellar reviews. This, I think, is more than enough proof that the fall of Western Civilization is upon us. And yes, Resnais directed the classic "Hiroshima Mon Amour", an art film of compelling, timeless beauty, but it's no reason to cut the guy some slack.
This is, purely and simply, an abominable film experience.
See it at your peril.
Better yet, just go see "Jonah Hex".