Search - Muriel on DVD

Actor: Delphine Seyrig
Director: Alain Resnais
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
UR     2007     1hr 56min

Delphine Seyrig gives an award-winning performance in Alain Resnais hauntingly brilliant masterpiece. Helene (Seyrig) is a widow who sells antiques from the apartment she shares with her eccentric filmmaker stepson, Bernar...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Delphine Seyrig
Director: Alain Resnais
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/13/2007
Original Release Date: 03/13/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 03/13/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 56min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Resnais Resnais, fantastic Resnais
TUCO H. | Los Angeles, CA | 09/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Muriel" is one of the greatest films ever made. It is Alan Resnais' ultimate masterstroke. It is better than both "Hiroshima Mon Amour" and "Last Year At Marienbad;" However, it ABSOLUTELY DEMANDS MULTIPLE VIEWINGS. It is a difficult but ultimately magnificent and supremely satisfying film experience. The first time I saw "Muriel" (it was, for years, extremely hard to find on video and only one video store carried it even in movie mecca L.A.) I was completely confounded by it. The radical presentation of the ordinary characters in the context of their transcendent thoughts and memories seemed to be uninteresting and bland (probably because I hadn't thought of its connections to the universal). I didn't think it warranted any closer attention. But I knew there was something there I was uncomfortable with, a deeper aspect I wasn't picking up. I knew that great films sometimes take a while before they reveal themselves and that I had to come back sometime and reassess it.After reading a deeply insightful old article from "Cahiers du Cinema" called "The Misfortunes of Muriel" in which Jacques Rivette and a group of other French critics praise this film to the skies and also Truffaut's little piece about it in his book "The Films in My Life," I decided to give it another try. To say that I'm glad I took the time to make that reassessment is an understatment because this is such an amazingly satisfying film, that once all the pieces of the puzzle come togeher in your head in all their subtle details, THERE IS NOTHING ELSE TO COMPARE. You almost feel like you've just seen the birth of cinema. It is nearly flawless in conception and execution and has to be one of the supreme works of art this century. It works on more levels than any other film I can think of, even "Pierrot Le Fou" and "8-1/2." The difference is, almost all of these levels are hidden at first sight. You definitely have to pay UNDIVIDED ATTENTION and CONCENTRATE to start with, especially if you're reading the subtitles in English. Every word is there for a purpose and every shot counts. I'd suggest that you watch it at the bare minimum 4 times before you even presume to make a judgment. Here are ONLY A FEW of the things I like about "Muriel:" It uses a thriller form with many comic elements that ultimately becomes a sublime tragedy of modern existence. It has superb realism in acting (Marienbad's Delphine Seyrig in her greatest performance plays the lead) to beautifully contrast with what it's really about: the transcendent aspects of life such as memory and the way it and they (the other aspects) affect the present. Sascha Vierny's beautiful faded-tone, color cinematography seems almost calculated for psychological effect (similar to Antonioni's "Red Desert" which it probably influenced) and just indescribably poetic. The eerie, haunting modern music(Henze) used on the soundtrack adds an almost science fiction feel to the atmosphere (similar to "Hiroshima" but more grating and full of nervous tension). The virtuoso, quick cutting in the middle section is completely chronological in nature but elegantly provides multiple perspectives without distorting things with unnecessary length (since all these things are going on pretty much at the same time). The quick cutting, more than anything else, is what throws most viewers off, but after a few viewings you realize that this quick cutting is precisely one of the supreme sources of beauty in the film's overall design.I cannot recommend this film highly enough for anyone interested in GREAT CINEMA. In fact, even though this is the BEST Resnais film, it isn't exactly the most popular one, and it'll probably take ages before it's available on DVD, and that's why you need to buy the video NOW before they decide to disconinue it."
Alain Resnais' Best Film
Jeffrey Timko | 02/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Although "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" and "Last Year in Marienbad" will always get more press, I think that "Muriel" is Alain Resnais' best film. Beware, if you are not a fan of the most challenging foreign films or of the nouvelle vague, this film will absolutely confound you, it is challenging viewing. Resnais probably revolutionized film even more than Michelangelo Antonioni or Jean-Luc Godard did. "Muriel", the story of some very emotionally ravaged people set in a city being rebuilt after being destroyed during World War II, was the first color film directed by Resnais and features stunning work by his (and Peter Greenaway's) cinematographer, Sacha Vierny. I must recommend it, above all, for its absolutely incredible editing. Watch the first two minutes and be prepared to be blown away by Resnais' cutting techniques. Later, you will see him alternate quickly between scenes during the day and scenes during the night, something Godard later did in "Masculin-Feminin". "Muriel", like any film from Alain Resnais, is one of a kind. Hopefully, "Muriel" will someday become available on DVD using a remastered print, so that the beautiful bright greens and scenes shot in near darkness, will come across in all their glory. For now, we can thank Hen's Tooth Video for making this film available on VHS."
A meditation on the past and how it influences our lives..
Stalwart Kreinblaster | Xanadu | 05/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Alain Renais, often considered an outsider of sorts, crafts his movies like a poet crafts his poems.. He seems to like to play with the notion of time and its meaning.. I noticed this in 'Hiroshima mon amor' and now again in 'muriel'.. it is a beautiful approach to making movies... i was so taken aback by the fluidity of the cuts from one place to another one moment to another it feels modern and yet it challenges us in a very basic way.. The characters in this movie appear to be struggling with continuing their lives in the face of past traumas - yet this message is one we can all take to heart (aren't we all in a similar boat?).. My favorite aspects of this movie are the camera shots.. often evoking modern photography.. and the seemless pacing and editing - which make this one of the most powerful movie experiences that i have seen... Now i hope that 'last year at marienbad' will be released on dvd..."
Reality vs Memory of It
Galina | Virginia, USA | 04/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Muriel" (1963) directed by Alain Resnais is a drama about the persistence of memory (aren't all Resnains' films? Incidentally, I named my review of "Hiroshima Mon Amour" that I saw about two years ago, "Persistence of Memory".)

Muriel of the title is dead by the time the movie begins, the victim of torture by the French soldiers during the occupation of Algeria. One of the soldiers, Bernard, is back in France living with his step-mother, Helene (Delphine Seyrig) in the province city Boulogne and hunted by the memories of war and Muriel. Helen deals with her own past and memories of Alphonse (Jean-Pierre Kérien), an ex-lover who comes from Paris to visit her in the company of his new 20-years-old girlfriend, Françoise (Nita Klein)

The story which Resnais tells is simple and the trailer for the movie gives a viewer a very good idea of what they are about to see: The Past. The present. The future - is it possible? Uncertainty. Suspicions. Lies. Four main characters, Helene, Alphonse, Bertrand, and Françoise are in search of what they are. There will be secrets and confessions. Is that time to love? The main theme of the film is reality vs. memory of it. Can we always trust ourselves with what we remember? Does our memory reflect the events the way they really happened or our vision of them is altered as time passes and new realities inevitably enter our lives?

What makes "Muriel" unique after all these years is the way the director presents the journey into the past of his characters, how they see it, and how it affects their present lives and the possibility (or rather impossibility) of love and happiness. Alain Resnains uses quick flashes of memory in the form of almost hypnotizing jump cuts of his genius cinematographer Sacha Vierny (Resnains and Vierny had made 10 films together). Vierny provided beautiful melancholic visual palette of washed out colors that created the atmosphere of unbearable sadness, loss, and hopelessness. Vierny who always underlined his preference for atmosphere over formal perfection, had said, "My satisfaction is that the photography is not remarked on too much for itself". The visual originality and innovation are accompanied by unusual unnerving soundtrack, eerie and haunting that adds to the understanding of guilt and remorse the film characters live with.

"Muriel" is a puzzling and multi-layered film that is easy to admire and meditate on. It is not entertaining or heart-warming and it is hard to identify with its heroes (or anti-heroes) but is always fascinating and rewarding and it may reveal its secrets after multiple viewings.