Starring: Andre Dussolier, Sabin Azema
Written by: Alex Revail, Laurent Herbiet
Directed by: Alain Resnais
Whatever this film was trying to do, it failed.
Wild Grass is the story of a woman who loses her wallet (Azema) and the man who finds it (Dussolier). He turns it into the police, but not until he’s routed through the contents and fallen in love/become obsessed with the owner. When she calls to thank him, the obsession doubles and he begins to stalk her.
We are meant to feel sympathy for him, even though he is obviously twisted (there are hints at some even more shady things in his past, but nothing is ever clarified) we are also meant to feel sympathy with her when she ends up falling for her stalker even though she is obviously, well, the kind of girl who would fall for her stalker. We are meant to feel sympathy for a host of characters that we really have no reason to feel sympathy for, or even remotely like. The only nice people in the film are fleeting characters, police officers and random employees, but unfortunately this movie isn’t about them. This movie is about the truly questionable people that they come into contact with.
Maybe the point was to show us how flawed people are. But the thing is we already knew that. We’ve all seen news stories where some teacher starts dating a twelve-year-old student and they profess they are in love. The real goal of this film should have been to make us feel for the characters, to see why such disturbed people can find happiness with each other. But there is very little effort there. Even the style of narration (half fairytale, half journalistic analysis) does all it can to distance us from the characters and examine them like ants in a colony. Not a great way to gain insight into their motivations.
It’s a shame because the film looks amazing and is acted beautifully. In fact, if the subtitles hadn’t been on and I’d been allowed to make up my own story I probably would have enjoyed the film a lot more (except for the ending, that wouldn’t have worked in any language) unfortunately, the sub titles were on and the characters motivations are there for us to scrutinize and judge and, for me, dismiss. I just didn’t like anyone in the movie and didn’t care how their stories turned out. No amount of beautiful camera work can save that.
Okay, in the next couple days I should get Salt up. Followed closely by I am love.