Muriel ou le temps d'un retour (1963) is a French movie. Alain Resnais has directed this movie. Delphine Seyrig,Jean-Pierre Kérien,Nita Klein,Jean-Baptiste Thiérrée are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1963. Muriel ou le temps d'un retour (1963) is considered one of the best Drama movie in India and around the world.
In the seacoast town of Boulogne, Hélène sells antique furniture, living with her step-son, Bernard, who's back from military duty in Algiers. An old lover of Hélène's comes to visit - Alphonse - with his niece Françoise; he too is back from Algiers, where he ran a café. Bernard speaks of his fiancée, Muriel, whom Hélène has not met. The narrative, like memory and intention, is jumpy, the past obscured by guilt, misperceptions, and missed possibilities. Appearances deceive, things change. As Hélène and Alphonse try to sort out a renewal, everyone seems off-kilter just enough to hint that all cannot end well. Can anyone know another?
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"Muriel" (1963) directed by Alain Resnais is a drama about the persistence of memory (aren't all Resnains' films? Incidentally, I named my review of "Hiroshima Mon Amour" that I saw about two years ago, "Persistence of Memory".) Muriel of the title is dead by the time the movie begins, the victim of torture by the French soldiers during the occupation of Algeria. One of the soldiers, Bernard, is back in France living with his step-mother, Helene (Delphine Seyrig) in the province city Boulogne and hunted by the memories of war and Muriel. Helen deals with her own past and memories of Alphonse (Jean-Pierre Kérien), an ex-lover who comes from Paris to visit her in the company of his new 20-years-old girlfriend, Françoise (Nita Klein) The story which Resnais tells is simple and the trailer for the movie gives a viewer a very good idea of what they are about to see: The Past. The present. The future - is it possible? Uncertainty. Suspicions. Lies. Four main characters, Helene, Alphonse, Bertrand, and Françoise are in search of what they are. There will be secrets and confessions. Is that time to love? The main theme of the film is reality vs. memory of it. Can we always trust ourselves with what we remember? Does our memory reflect the events the way they really happened or our vision of them is altered as time passes and new realities inevitably enter our lives? What makes "Muriel" unique after all these years is the way the director presents the journey into the past of his characters, how they see it, and how it affects their present lives and the possibility (or rather impossibility) of love and happiness. Alain Resnains uses quick flashes of memory in the form of almost hypnotizing jump cuts of his genius cinematographer Sacha Vierny (Resnains and Vierny had made 10 films together). Vierny provided beautiful melancholic visual palette of washed out colors that created the atmosphere of unbearable sadness, loss, and hopelessness. Vierny who always underlined his preference for atmosphere over formal perfection, had said, "My satisfaction is that the photography is not remarked on too much for itself". The visual originality and innovation are accompanied by unusual unnerving soundtrack, eerie and haunting that adds to the understanding of guilt and remorse the film characters live with. "Muriel" is a puzzling and multi-layered film that is easy to admire and meditate on. It is not entertaining or heart-warming and it is hard to identify with its heroes (or anti-heroes) but is always fascinating and rewarding and it may reveal its secrets after multiple viewings.
The first time I saw 'Muriel' (it was, for years, extremely hard to find on video and only one video store carried it even in movie mecca L.A.) I was completely confounded by it. The radical presentation of the ordinary characters in the context of their transcendent thoughts and memories seemed to be uninteresting and bland, precisely because I hadn't thought of its connections to the universal. I didn't think it warranted any closer attention. But I knew there was something there I was uncomfortable with, I knew I had to come back to this film sometime and reassess it. Needless to say, I am glad I made that reassessment because this is such an amazingly satisfying film, once all the pieces of the puzzle come togeher in your head in their subtle details. It is nearly flawless in conception and execution and has to be one of the supreme works of art this century. It works on more levels than any other film I can think of, even 'Pierrot Le Fou' and '8-1/2.' The difference is, almost all of it is hidden at first sight. You definitely have to pay UNDIVIDED ATTENTION and CONCENTRATE to start with, especially if you're reading the subtitles in English. Every word is there for a purpose and every shot counts. I'd suggest that you watch it (thank god it is now available on video and at such a reasonable price)at the bare minimum 3 times before you even presume to make a judgment. Here are only a few of the things I like about 'Muriel:' It is a thriller with many comic elements that ultimately becomes a sublime tragedy of modern existence. It has superb 'realism' in acting to beautifully contrast with what it's really about: the transcendent aspects of life such as memory and the way it and they (the other aspects) affect the present. The beautiful faded-tone, color photography is psychologically calculated (a definite influence on 'Red Desert') for effect and just indescribably poetic. The virtuoso, quick cutting in the middle section is completely chronological in nature but elegantly provides multiple perspectives without distorting things with unnecessary length (since all these things are going on pretty much at the same time). I cannot recommend this film highly enough for anyone interested in great cinema.
I had never seen an Alain Resnais movie before. Despite the fact most of my IMDb friends had told me to start off with Hiroshima Mon Amour, I was more drawn to Muriel and chose it as my first taste of Resnais. In a nutshell: it was far more interesting thematically and cinematographically (also on a purely technical level) than it was enjoyable. I'm still very glad that I saw it, though. The most fascinating aspect of it was without doubt the montage, or editing. Rather than directing or acting, or even the screen writing, it was the editing that had the lion's share of the movie, as if it were its star. I cannot think of another movie where this is quite as apparent. Some of Muriel's style of editing felt like machine-gun-fire, being so relentlessly fast and aggressive in parts, but it was in my opinion very powerful and efficient in leaving an impression of "mental flashes". This emulated the nature of memory, which is the theme at the heart of an otherwise grim and pessimistic movie. Yet this darkness is masked by an appearance of everyday banality in a provincial town, making it all the more depressing, since it's easier to relate the melancholy at its core to one's own, everyday existence. Not for nothing, the movie was also set in winter, and nothing is quite as melancholy and nostalgic as a sea-side town off-season. The last 10 minutes of the movie, more or less from the "revelation" at Hélène's Sunday lunch right to the moments in which the word "Fin" (The End) appeared on the screen, were the most powerful bout of cinematic caffeine I've experienced in a while. Until that moment I was starting to worry that the film was going nowhere too specific, or at least not somewhere that I understood or knew. Then came the final emotional earthquake, redeeming the movie tenfold, and I was virtually just as shocked as most of the characters in it. OK, I'll admit I wasn't overly enamoured of the acting. With the exception of Delphine Seyrig playing Hélène, who succeeded in convincing me with her interpretation of the character as well as making me feel sympathetic towards her, the other players left me virtually cold. For a while I thought I'd like Nita Klein playing Françoise, then I started thinking that her character was pretty much redundant and should have been far more marginal than it actually was (and what was going on between her and Bernard anyway? That felt like a contrivance). Since I mentioned Bernard, played by Jean-Baptiste Thierrée, let me say that he was the character I was least convinced by. Quite frankly, I wasn't partial to the way the actor chose to bring him to life at all. Yet he and his drama - the traumas he'd experienced during the Algerian war, his witnessing the torture of an Algerian girl, the titular Muriel, which scarred him for life - was probably the heart and kernel of the movie! Jean-Pierre Kérien playing Alphonse, is the player that most viewers here seem to criticise. In my view there wasn't much else he could have done with the character, seeing as he was mostly a pretext for Hélène's tragedy. But in the last ten minutes of the movie Alphonse's raison d'être comes sharply to the forefront, thanks to the shocking revelation previously mentioned. It was Bernard that I expected more from acting-wise, I guess. Furthermore, the soundtrack was occasionally strident and annoying, perhaps trying to be an aural version of the editing. But while it worked on a visual level, the music's jarred quality was ultimately grating. However, for the courage with which the movie tackled subjects which are best rendered in a novel form, for its successfully experimental editing, as well as its genuinely moving ending, I'll still award Muriel a pretty high score: 7.5/10 (it would have been 8 if the acting, not just from Seyrig, had been more accomplished).
This movie was made in the context of the revolution in the French cinema and novel which took place in the sixties. Just like the work of Margueritte Duras and Claude Simon whose novels avoided a straightforward narrative style, this movie tells its story in an episodic and almost surreal manner. This can make it difficult going for anyone seeking a simple tale, well told. But, if your taste runs to the more abstract, there is a lot to like here. Like "Juliet of the Spirits" this movie is infused with an intensely subjective portrayal of the story which unfolds of a betrayed love, an act of war time atrocity, and the desparate plight of a compulsive gambler. Excellent cinematography and direction make this movie a wonderful and richly textured work which deserves several viewings to appreciate completely.
not for the casual DVD renter. Muriel is *not* entertainment but a film that demands that we endure its theatricality and embalmed atmosphere in order to reflect, along with Resnais, about various kinds of unbearable pasts, personal and national. The city of Boulogne is itself a character in Muriel, rebuilt and unrecognizable after the bombings of World War II...Helene (Delphine Seyrig) is an antique dealer whose home is her gallery--so she lives in a jumble of distant French pasts all the better to avoid her own. The "home movie" sequence is one of the few in French cinema of the 60s where the Algerian War is figured--but here, we see happy soldiers hanging out, images to send home (and to French TV), while the voice-over (Helene's stepson) recounts the rape and torture of the Algerian woman named in the title. Daring, in light of French censorship of any text that compromised state security during the "Algerian situation." Muriel will leave you with more questions than resolutions.