Wild Grass Review

Wild Grass rotates on the axis of one incident, a woman is mugged and loses her wallet. A married man in his fifties finds the wallet in a parking lot and becomes obsessed with knowing/finding her. This hyper-focused, detailed style aims to reveal the extraordinary hidden beneath the ordinary or the mundane, and as a result reminded me of Agnes Varda’s film Cleo 5 a 7 (Cleo 5 to 7). This film focuses on two hours in the life of Cleo, a young actress who is afraid to receive the results of a test from her doctor’s office. We follow Cleo around in minute detail, shopping, observing, eating. This intimate style reveals more about Cleo’s mental state as she goes about her day, doing nothing in  particular.

In Wild Grass, George Palet’s (Andre Dossellier) world changes when he finds the lost wallet of a woman named Marguerite Muir (Sabine Azema). George is taken at first by her sad looking ID photo, and then by the exuberant photo on her pilot’s license. “Can this be the same woman?” he wonders. It is.

George turns this scenario over and over in his mind. Should he call Ms. Muir and say he found her wallet? Should he go to the police? Will she thank him? Will she pick up? He says that he is housebound and hints at the idea that he committed some kind of crime, and is afraid the police will recognize him. In the end, George decides to turn the wallet in to the police, but leaves his name and number in case Marguerite wishes to get in touch with him.

She does, and George asks if they can meet. Marguerite is confused, she doesn’t see the need for a meeting, and George is disproportionately offended. He writes her an emotional letter, only to try and retrieve it from her mailbox, and continues to write and call Marguerite, leaving her voicemails even after she tells him she doesn’t wish to hear from him again. Eventually, George decides to slash her tires, and later, apologizes for his irrational outburst.

Marguerite goes to the police, she does not wish to press charges, only to be left alone. In an interesting twist, however, once George leaves Marguerite alone, she begins to wonder about him. Neither one of them can forget about the other, which puts into motion an interesting sequence of events that greatly affects both their lives.

This film is quite visually appealing. The colors are saturated, namely recurring rich greens, turquoises and reds abound, and the camera work is unique in that it either features characters and their surroundings in extreme close up, or wide angle.

The repeated use of saturated colors seems to have some significance as well. When characters are engaged in routine tasks, but toying around with changing them, for example, vivid green is used. George’s desk lamp glows his entire office green when he sits with his phonebook, agonizing over whether or not to call Marguerite. Or when Marguerite sits in her dentist office, her whiny patients continually grating on her last nerve. Red is featured as a symbol of routine, such as the red Cinema sign above the movie house that George frequents, or the red color of George and his wife’s old house. Finally, a rich peacock blue appears to signify newness, change, and excitement. George repaints his old house in this rich color, at the request of his wife. The airplane that Marguerite flies in the end is also bright blue, and when George and Marguerite finally express love for one another, the entire room they’re standing in is bathed in bright peacock blue.

The plot can be, at times, hard to follow. It seems as though the filmmakers have left a few things open ended, wishing for the audience to make their own choice. For example, we never find out what crime George committed, as well as the answer to a few other key plot points that would give far too much away.

DVD Bonus Features

A feature with the set designer taking the viewer behind the scenes to show how the sets are built, how director Alain Resnais sets out to produce on film what he has seen in his imagination, and that with “Wild Grass,” he set out to make “a very colorful film.” Most of the sets in this film, even the outdoor ones, were constructed sets. A theatrical trailer is also included, where the film is aptly called “a lucid dream,” and “hallucinatory.”

There are also a handful of other previews from Sony Pictures Classics, such as “Get Low” with Robert Duvall, “Coco Before Chanel,” and the miniseries “Pillars of the Earth.”

"Wild Grass " is on sale October 26, 2010 and is rated PG. Drama. Directed by Alain Resnais . Written by Christian Gally (novel, L'incident), Alex Reval, Laurent Herbiet . Starring Andre Dussollier, Anne Cosigny , Sabine Azema .

Marissa Quenqua • Staff Writer

Six Feet Under is her favorite TV show, with The L Word and Sex and the City coming in second and third, respectively. Always up for discovering a new favorite, she also enjoys True BloodNurse Jackie, and Mad Men. Marissa has a background in writing, editing, and cinema studies.


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