Combustible Celluloid
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With: Sabine Azéma, Fanny Ardant, Pierre Arditi, André Dussollier, Jean Dasté
Written by: Jean Gruault
Directed by: Alain Resnais
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: French with English subtitles
Running Time: 92
Date: 09/05/1984

Love Unto Death (1984)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Killing the Conversation

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Alain Resnais had some kind of complex compositional idea for this film, dividing it up into "movements" lasting certain lengths, and interspersing each movement with an image of falling snow (or darkness) accompanied by a snippet of music. Unfortunately, the main thrust of the film is fairly ponderous. A man, Simon (Pierre Arditi), collapses and a doctor pronounces him dead. Some time later, he wakes up and greets his distraught wife, Elizabeth (Sabine Azema). From there, they discuss -- ad nauseam -- the meanings of life and death and love. They decide to avoid their friends and family and take a vacation. Then they change their minds and decide to see their friends, Jerome (Andrew Dussollier) and Judith (Fanny Ardant), both clerics who have their own (religious) views on the meaning of life. Things just get gloomier and gloomier and it ends with characters wanting to kill themselves. There has to be more to life than all this moping. All four actors appeared in Resnais' much better Mélo two years later.

DVD Details: Kino Video released this on their Kimstim label, along with three other Rensais features from the 1980s (Mélo, I Want to Go Home and Life Is a Bed of Roses). Extras include a trailer and an interview with Arditi.

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