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Editorial Reviews

Delphine Seyrig gives an award-winning performance in Alain Resnais hauntingly brilliant masterpiece. Helene (Seyrig) is a widow who sells antiques from the apartment she shares with her eccentric filmmaker stepson, Bernard. Bernard is a veteran of the Algerian War and is haunted by his participation in the torture and murder of a young woman named Muriel.

Special Features

  • Interview with film critic Francois Thomas
  • Original theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Delphine Seyrig
  • Directors: Alain Resnais
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Koch Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LW7L04
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,188 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Muriel" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Galina on April 13, 2007
"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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mithridates VI of Pontus VINE VOICE on September 25, 2010
Delphine Seyrig has always been my favorite French actress -- this was mostly based on her icy, regal, and hauntingly beautiful role in Alain Resnais' seemingly impenetrable masterpiece, The Last Year at Marienbad. In Resnais' third film, Muriel, or The Time of Return (1963) Delphine Seyrig's acting abilities really shine through. Gone are her icy stares, delicately turned head indicating ambivalence, impassive expressions -- instead, we see her vulnerable, motherly, and human. In short, if for nothing else, Muriel is a vehicle for Seyrig's true acting ability as Hélène, a middle-aged widow. Although Seyrig is only in her 30s, despite the artificial quality of the 60s makeup which attempts to make her older, we believe that Hélène has experienced a great deal in her life.

Seyrig's acting tour de force is hampered somewhat by the most obvious and bothersome flaw of this film -- poor supporting acting almost across the board. Hélène's traumatized son, Bernard (Jean-Baptiste Thiérrée), is probably the worst acted role in the film. Almost as poorly portrayed is Hélène's one time love interest who has come to visit her, Alphonse Noyard (Jean-Pierre Kérien). So in short, if one can tolerate some poor acting then the rest of Muriel, or The Time of Return has quite a lot to offer: ingenious editing, a convoluted but meaningful plot, and above all, an interesting examination of the trauma of war, the banality of everyday life, and the nostalgia of lost love and what could have been.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephen C. Bird on July 26, 2010
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I have seen "Muriel" many times and continue to be awed by its ambiance, its exploration of secrets, and its fantastic soundtrack. I love the disjointed, abruptly edited, non-linear, everywhere-at-once quality of this movie. It is a sort of "cut-up" film, a collage representative of the space-age early 1960's. [Although this may seem like an obscure connection/comparison--"Muriel" was made around the same time that WS Burroughs and Brion Gysin were in Paris experimenting with the controversial cut-up method in literature.] Similarly to the other Amazon reviewers of this work, I see "Muriel" as a study of the distortion of reality via memory, as well as the effects of loss and alienation upon one's perception of relationship. However, the film is so visually rich--and in combination with the soundtrack so arresting--that plot becomes irrelevant, and in the end this movie defies analysis. I willingly surrender to "Muriel's" atmosphere of kaleidoscopic confusion. There are so many disconnected moments and seemingly innocuous images in this film that I treasure--be it the globular glass coffee pot on a stand that Hélène brings to the dinner table for her guests to enjoy with their spiked dessert; sinister Bernard riding on a white horse along a cliff by the sea; Helene borrowing money from her skeptical friend so she can go gambling at the local casino; the bleak and yet strangely comfortable scenes of the cafes and bars of Boulogne; the haunting song "Déjà" which reminds us that "life is short, times flies." However, Resnais dwells on no one scene for too long, always moving on to the next jarring contradiction. Ultimately, what I love about "Muriel" is the fact that, like any great work of art, I will never completely understand it--it will always be a mystery. Like a puzzle from which a few pieces are permanently missing.

Stephen C. Bird, Author of "Hideous Exuberance"
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