Alain Resnais: muriel, ou le temps d’un retour

Alain Resnais

July 2, 2014 8:00 pm

1963, 115 minutes

Two years after signing the manifeste des 121 in favor of the insubordination of young soldiers in Algeria, Alain Resnais begins to write Muriel ou le temps d’un Retour with Jean Cayrol, with whom he collaborated on the highly acclaimed documentary Nuit et Brouillard (1955). But in Muriel, they build a fiction to narrate a part of history that remained censored in France until 2004. Nevertheless, the « events » in Algeria, when there was no war supposedly, are directing the film. Emotion is movement, and so is cinema; the montage stresses breaks and enforces this movement. In Muriel, the narrative is completely de-structured (a sort of “dodecaphonic cinema” as Henri Langlois put it), like one who experienced a traumatic event. Muriel is the story of the Algerian war as a trauma, a memory you cannot deal with and which makes your thought impossible to gather—something that France experienced with all that what repressed and left unsaid. «Le cinema ne devrait etre qu’un montage d’emotions» said Resnais.