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LIFE IS A BED OF ROSES

Director: ALAIN RESNAIS

111 minutes| France| 1983| Subtitled| Colour| 35mm


A film about the search for Utopia in two different epochs: pre-World War One and the present day. In the former, an aesthete and aristocrat Count Forbek (Ruggero Raimondi) designs a Temple of Happiness for visitors who revert to a state of innocence. In the latter, Geraldine Chaplin and Vittorio Gassman are amongst a gaggle of theorists attending a symposium in Forbeck’s castle on ‘the education of the imagination’. Both ventures end in chaos; and interwoven with this is a fairytale where a warrior confronts an evil king. The overall effect is either bewitching or bewildering: it is as if you are watching As You Like It, La Regle du jeu and Lost Horizon all at the same time. ‘Utterly without antecedents’ was critic Gilbert Adair’s assessment of the film, but for Resnais at least it was in one sense a Utopian experience: his first collaboration with actress Sabine Azema, subsequently to become a permanent fixture in his work (and life).

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