Alain Resnais

Alain Resnais

Director, Writer, Assistant Director, Editor


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Alain Resnais (born 3 June 1922) is a French film director whose career has extended over more than six decades. After training as a film editor in the mid-1940s, he went on to direct a number of short films which included Nuit et Brouillard (Night and Fog) (1955), an influential documentary about the Nazi concentration camps.

He began making feature films in the late 1950s and consolidated his early reputation with Hiroshima mon amour (1959), L'Année dernière à Marienbad (Last Year in Marienbad) (1961), and Muriel (1963), all of which adopted unconventional narrative techniques to deal with themes of troubled memory and the imagined past. These films were contemporary with, and associated with, the French New Wave or nouvelle vague, though Resnais did not regard himself as being fully part of that movement. He had closer links to the 'Left Bank group' of authors and filmmakers who shared a commitment to modernism and an interest in left-wing politics. He also established a regular practice of working on his films in collaboration with writers usually unconnected with the cinema, such as Marguerite Duras, Alain Robbe-Grillet and Jorge Semprún.

In later films Resnais moved away from the overtly political topics of some previous works and developed his interests in an interaction between cinema and other cultural forms, including theatre, music, and comic books. This led to imaginative adaptations of two plays by Alan Ayckbourn, and two different styles of musical in On connaît la chanson (Same Old Song) (1997) and Pas sur la bouche (Not on the Lips) (2003).

His films have frequently explored the relationship between consciousness, memory, and the imagination, and he is noted for devising innovative formal structures for his narratives. Throughout his career he has won many awards from international film festivals and academies.

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June 3, 1922

Place of birth

Vannes, Morbihan, Bretagne, France