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Wild Grass

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A wallet lost and found opens the door – slightly - to Georges and Marguerite’s romantic adventure. After finding a red wallet and examining the ID of it’s owner, it is not a simple matter for Geroges to turn it into the police. Nor can Marguerite retrieve her wallet without being piqued with curiosity about the person who found it. As they navigate the social protocols of giving and acknowledging thanks, turbulence enters their lives. WILD GRASS is based on the novel “L’incident” by French novelist Christian Gailly.


France's Alain Resnais (Last Year at Marienbad) has been subverting audience expectations for six decades, and Wild Grass proves no exception. Flame-haired Marguerite (the director's partner, Sabine Azéma) sets the story in motion when she buys a pair of designer heels. Moments later, a thief steals her yellow handbag (cinematographer Éric Gautier makes the most of this primary-color palette). While entering a parking garage that night, Georges Palet (André Dussollier) finds a billfold devoid of money. The pilot's license, however, inflames his imagination. Hesitant to contact this formidable woman, a dentist by trade, he hands the matter over to Bernard (Mathieu Amalric), the country's most impatient cop. When Marguerite calls to thank him, Georges complains that she isn't sufficiently grateful. Later, he apologizes, then starts calling daily and sending letters. Married to a younger woman (Anne Consigny), Georges appears to be retired, and the chase adds excitement to his life, but Marguerite asks him to stop. When he doesn't, she contacts Bernard. And that's when Resnais turns the tables on the audience, because Marguerite takes to calling Georges and drops by his house with her friend, Josépha (Emmanuelle Devos). Then, things get even stranger, culminating in a truly mystifying ending. In adapting Christian Gailly's novel L'Incident, Resnais gives the romantic thriller a metaphysical twist that will please some and infuriate others (Edouard Baer's narration illuminates as much as it obscures). In the end, he prioritizes a man's attempt to slow down the passage of time over the possibility of infidelity. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: André Dussollier, Sabine Azéma
  • Directors: Alain Resnais
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003L20IJ2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,248 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wild Grass" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By chainlink on August 25, 2011
Format: DVD
There is a fair amount of sheer whimsy in the film--a characteristic Nouvelle Vague feature that sometimes works, coming across as fresh and unexpected, and sometimes sort of falls flat, seeming merely throwaway, unserious.

But the film as a whole I found fascinating and wonderfully suggestive, particularly its guiding metaphor. This compares wild grass--uncultivated, uncared for, appearing in and around things of more usefulness (a paradigm case insisted upon by the film's opening credits is that of grass growing in cracks of pavement and tarmac)--to stray relationships, equally unplanned and uncultivated, that can sprout up in the cracks of more ordered segments of life, out of seemingly trivial encounters.

The central characters in Herbes Folles are not friends, not business acquaintances, not neighbors, not lovers (even Truffaut's famous menage a trois in Jules et Jim has more solid substance than what Resnais offers up here, though clearly we're dealing with similar inspirations and approaches)--their relationship has no rationale, no name, so it has no rules or accepted conventions, either. This makes it fraught, susceptible to endless hesitations and uncertainties, second guessings and regrets--in fact its very pointlessness renders it curiously intense, there being no established roles available to fall back into in case of missteps, the way an unsteady acrobat can drop into a net.

In this respect, the film is actually about freshness and unexpectedness: these aren't just inherited tics of a French film school. I found Resnais here to be thought-provoking in the same way that Dostoevsky is thought-provoking: people and their relationships are shown as fundamentally unpredictable, mysterious even to themselves.
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Format: DVD
WILD GRASS (LES HERBES FOLLES) is based on the novel 'L'incident' by Christian Gailly, a writer who delights in taking simple incidents and pushing them to the extremes of climax beyond which few would ever dream. But Alain Resnais has taken this novel (adapted by Alex Reval and Laurent Herbiet), infused it with his own characteristic joy of playing reality versus imagination, memory versus illusion, and has come up with a film that will likely have a limited audience, but for those who delight in letting go and simply flying along with the imagination of a genius or two, then WILD GRASS will satisfy and more.

The story is a romance in the manner of a hesitation waltz. The story is narrated (by Edouard Baer) to give the opening aspects of the story momentum. Marguerite Muir (Sabine Azéma), a dentist and Spitfire pilot, has just purchased shoes and leaves the store when her handbag is snatched by a running thief. Later, the aging Georges Palet (André Dussollier) finds a red wallet in a parking lot, examines the contents, struggles with the burden of what to do, and finally turns the wallet in to the police, Bernard de Bordeaux (Mathieu Amalric) who takes his name in case there is a reward. Georges returns home to his wife Suzanne (Anne Consigny), who understands that Georges' strange behavior since his father's recent death may be enhanced by a new predicament: Georges is worried about the incident. He places telephone calls to Marguerite, visits her home, writers her letters - all of which confounds him as to his obsession with the woman he has never met. Georges family (he has two children) find his preoccupation strange and indeed Georges seems to have a dark secret from his past that causes him to have minor verbal explosions that seem wholly inappropriate.
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Format: DVD
Alain Resnais' Wild Grass is one of those cases where I liked the film-making but didn't care as much for the film. Resnais' playful love of the possibilities of cinema shines through, but the film never really makes enough of its subversion of a standard romantic comedy setup as Andre Dussolier discovers Sabine Azema's stolen wallet and becomes increasingly obsessed with her until he goes too far and is warned off by the police - only for her to find herself missing the attention and start to become obsessed with him. The characters behave with pleasing irrationality just as they tend to do in the rather messy real world, and both have their share of flaws. Dussolier in particular may or may not have a dark criminal past (or it may simply be an example of his compulsive need to turn his life into a tragedy to overcome), but the details are left deliberately vague. Yet for all the stylistic polish and panache it still feels not fully formed. Although an adaptation of Christian Gailly's L'Incident, it's the kind of idea you'd expect his On Connait la Chanson writers Agnes Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri to come up with, and you can't help suspecting they'd have found much more in the material than Resnais does. Both leads have been better in their previous pairings, with Dussolier faring best here by virtue of having the most layered character, but Anne Consigny shines in the thankless role of his wife and Mathieu Amalric has a nice supporting role as a policeman, briefly forming half of a comic double-act with Michel Vuillermoz in one scene. While it's never really as good as it could have been, it's certainly no chore to sit through, and it does throw in one of the most memorable non-sequiter endings in years as a brief postscript to its already off the beaten track Biggles Flies Undone climax.
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Wild Grass
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