Featuring Mathieu Amalric, Lambert Wilson, Michel Piccoli, Sabine Azéma, Anne Consigny, Hippolyte Girardot and Pierre Arditi, Alain Resnais’s Vous n’avez encore rien vu (You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!) sees its world premiere on Monday, May 21, when it screens in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Besides the trailer and a few photos, the Festival‘s also got a press kit to download featuring an interview with Resnais whose own description of his new film royally trumps the official synopsis:
In my films, I’m constantly looking for a theater-style language and musical dialogue that invites the actors to get away from the realism of everyday life and move closer to a more offbeat performance. I read or reread different playwrights before I settled on Jean Anouilh. Since the end of the 1930s, I’ve been involved with the production of around 20 of his plays. When I came out of a production of Eurydice at the Théâtre de l’Atelier 70 years ago, I was so emotional that I cycled right around Paris, and saw the play again the following week. As I had done with Wild Grass, I asked my friend Laurent Herbiet to look at adapting two works as a director. After two or three days, Laurent suggested combining Eurydice with Dear Antoine, one of Anouilh’s other plays that I’d asked him to read. So for our purposes, Eurydice became a play by the dramatist Antoine d’Anthac, an eternally dissatisfied man who lacks in self-confidence and feels unloved. Antoine’s actors and friends who were in the very first performance of the play, or appeared in it 10, 20 or 30 years later, then come together to watch some recordings of a young theater company who are now rehearsing Eurydice, which they want to perform on stage. During the screening, Antoine’s friends are so overwhelmed by their memories of the play that they start performing it together, despite no longer being the appropriate age for their various roles. I still feel a very special emotion when I see a scene being performed by an actor who is taking on one of their former roles. The challenge of the film was to sustain the drama across the back and forth between Antoine’s friends and the actors in the recording. And it also seemed to me to be a way to reinforce the emotion when Orpheus and Eurydice are reunited, these two mythological characters who have been immortalized by the power of the popular imagination and subconscious.
In his preview of the film at In Contention, Guy Lodge notes that Resnais once again collaborates with “virtuoso cinematographer Eric Gautier (Into the Wild, The Motorcycle Diaries), who also shot fellow Competition entry On the Road. Oscar-nominated editor Herve de Luze (The Pianist) is also back on board, as is American composer Mark Snow, who is perhaps best known for his TV work. (He has 15 Emmy nominations, several of them for his very recognizable work on The X Files.)”
Alain Resnais will turn 90 on June 3.
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