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JE T’AIME, JE T’AIME

Director: ALAIN RESNAIS

94 minutes| France| 1968| Subtitled| Colour| 35mm


This is Resnais’ most literal exploration of cinema as time-machine. A failed suicide (Claude Rich) co-operates in a scientific experiment to relive a moment in his past life. The experiment goes wrong, and Rich is assailed by repeated, jarring and fragmented memories, particularly involving his romantic partner (Olga Georges-Picot) whose death he feels he caused. The narrative disorder comes to resemble the mental state of the unhappy hero, for whom time is a prison encapsulating a trauma from which he cannot escape. Part playful, part poignant, the film has something of the stylistic exuberance of contemporary masterpieces of time-travelling such as Chris Marker’s La jetee (1962) and Robert Enrico’s Incident at Owl Creek (1962), but it flopped on initial release, probably because of bad timing: France had other things on its mind amidst the turbulence of 1968. Showing here in a recently restored version, Je t’aime, je t’aime warrants rediscovery as one of Resnais’ boldest technical accomplishments.

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