Some might say the world of esoteric French New Wave cinema went out a long time ago. The latest film by Alain Resnais — director of such classics as Last Year at Marienbad and Hiroshima Mon Amour — would stand to prove otherwise. Based on the novel L’Incident by Christian Gailly, the 2009 hit Wild Grass (original French title, Les Herbes Folles) tells a bizarre and darkly absurd tale of Georges Palet (André Dussollier), an aging husband and father, and his newfound fascination with a woman he’s never met.
Discovering a lost wallet in a parking garage, Georges flips through it to find out who it belongs to. In looking at her picture, he sees a sort of inherent sadness in the eyes of one Marguerite Muir (Sabine Azéma) — the owner of said wallet — and thus begins a cycle of bewildering love between them. Wait, did I say “love?” Well, it’s the best word I can come up with, really: Georges returns the wallet to a policeman (Quantum Of Solace’s Mathieu Amalric), grows disappointed when Marguerite refuses to meet him, and starts to write her notes.
It’s only after Georges slashes Marguerite’s tires that Marguerite herself realizes that there’s something more to Georges than just a creepy middle-aged stalker. In fact, they begin to stalk each other — and Georges wife (Anne Consigny) seems to be very comfortable with the situation the whole way through.
If it seems kinda weird, it’s because it is. But that’s what makes Wild Grass a keeper in my book. It’s a charming, beautifully photographed film full of abstruse characters, cryptic dialogue, and, above all, the ability to throw the conventional romantic comedy formula out the window — twisting the predictable rom-com remains into something so puzzlingly bizarre, that you can’t help but admire it.
Who says the world of esoteric French New Wave cinema is dead?
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment brings Wild Grass to DVD in a lush transfer that presents the film in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio with a boisterous 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack in Parisian French (optional English subtitles are included, so don’t panic) that brings out the best in terms of dialogue and Mark Snow’s eclectic soundtrack. Special features on this release are only limited to a featurette with production designer Jacques Saulnier appears to have been carried over from a Region 2 DVD release, and trailers for this and other Sony titles.
In short: Wild Grass is an entertaining and extremely quirky fantasy that is guaranteed to make you wonder if Alain Resnais slipped you some “wild grass” of his own.