(Les herbes folles) “Wild Grass,” octogenarian master filmmaker Alain Resnais’ dippy freefall of a neurotic near-farce movie-movie romance is startling, strange and terribly sweet. I’d even venture it’ll be the youngest-feeling movie made by an 88-year-old director this year. Based, quite literally at times, upon a novel, ” L’Incident,” by Christian Gailly, “Wild Grass” is deliriously playful in how it stacks the forces of fate in its duo of characters’ overlapping lives and their mutating fantasies about each other, which begin with a purloined purse and a returned wallet. Wildly red-maned Resnais regular Sabine Azéma plays Marguerite, a middle-aged dentist and small-craft pilot who gains the unhealthy attentions of Georges (André Dussollier), a wealthy man her age, married and with grown children, after he returns her wallet. Obsessions and fears overlap and erupt in Paris and the suburbs they live in, to alternately funny and peculiar result. “Wild Grass” is also a study in the unreliable narrator: scenes of plausibility clash with utterly fantastic ones. Visually, it’s a treat, with color treated as a fantastical element and not a literal one: the decors are ADD Almodovar. The cryptic final scenes are weird and wonderful and genteelly surreal. Kitty treats, indeed. This is grown-up whimsy of a high order. The score is by Mark Snow (“The X-Files,” “Smallville,” “Private Fears In Public Places”), and the cinematography by the limber, inventive Eric Gautier (many Olivier Assayas films, “Into the Wild,” “The Motorcycle Diaries”) soars, literally, often, with great delight. With Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Devos, Anne Consigny. 104m. (Ray Pride)
“Wild Grass” opens Friday at the Music Box.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.