Alain Renais and a golden opportunity


Alain Resnais, a founding figure of the French new wave, passed away on Saturday, March 1, 2014, in Paris. He was 91 years old.

Resnais’s complex style consisted of innovative camera movement, long tracking shots, and the use of flashback as a way of exploring memory, particularly in such masterpieces of fractured time as Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) and Last Year at Marienbad (1961).

His dominant themes of memory and forgetfulness were illuminated in his fabulous short films Guernica (1950), Night and Fog (1955), and the unforgettable lyrical documentary Toute la Memoire du Monde (1956) about the Bibliotheque Nationale. He would continue to revisit these themes all the way to the end of his career.

Resnais was a perfect formalist who helped bring literary modernism to the movies, while his unique vision allowed his films to move seamlessly between past and present, reality and fantasy.

I was extremely fortunate to have met Mr. Resnais when, one day in the early ‘90’s, he came to my office in New York to obtain a few rare films that he had been unable to find anywhere else. He sat and we had a long chat about his films and cinema in general, including the films of Iran, which presented me with an historical opportunity to present him with my book, Iranian Cinema.

-Bahman Maghsoudlou
New York, March 2, 2014


About Author

Bahman Maghsoudlou

Film scholar/critic Bahman Maghsoudlou, recipient of Iran’s prestigious Forough Farrokhzad literary award (1974), is the author of Iranian Cinema, (NYU, 1987) and Grass: Untold Stories, about the making of Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life, (Mazda, 2008). He has been a panelist, juror and lecturer at a wide variety of film festivals, as well as serving as president of the juries. His films as director and/or producer, both features and documentaries, have been selected for over 100 festivals, garnering many awards. Maghsoudlou has directed six documentaries, notably Abbas Kiarostami: A Report. His last documentary Razor’s Edge: the Legacy of Iranian Actresses premiered at 40th Montreal World Film Festival 2016. His productions include: Amir Naderi’s Manhattan by Numbers (Venice, Toronto, London, Chicago, 1993), Seven Servants with the legendary Anthony Quinn (Locarno -Grand Piazza), Montréal, Toronto, 1996), Bahman Ghobadi’s Life in Fog (1998), the most awarded short documentary in Iranian Cinema history, and Silence of the Sea, winner of six prizes, and selected for over 20 festivals, including Sundance 2004. Having organized the first ever Iranian Film Festival in New York in 1980, he originated the International Short Film Festival: Independent Films on Iran held in October 2007 at Manhattan’s Asia Society. A graduate in cinema studies from the City University of New York and recipient of a PhD from Columbia, Maghsoudlou lives in New York.

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