Director: Alain Resnais
Year Released: 1977
A dying novelist (John Gielgud, in a magnificent performance) 'narrates' his 'work in progress,' with members of his own real-life family playing fictional roles: Dirk Bogarde is a snooty lawyer, Ellen Burstyn is Bogarde's philandering wife and David Warner may have the ability to turn into a werewolf. Resnais' films always fall into one of two camps for me, personally - the ones that drive me batty and the ones I love - with this one edging towards the grouping of movies I find amusing: he (and screenwriter David Mercer) are playing a cute experimental game, toying with plot mechanics and story construction in the middle of the story, with Gielgud, in voice-over, changing the dynamics based on the whimsy of his thought. Don't get me wrong, this is somewhat of a tease, but it's a surprisingly complex work: Gielgud's constant changes in mood reflect the artist's mercurial temperament and his use of real people as 'templates' for his fictional creations show how actual bitterness from reality can manifest itself in artistic products.