Monday, February 18, 2008

Alain Robbe-Grillet: August 1922 - February 2008


Despite the turmoil of events that have occurred around me recently (as I've mentioned before, I attend Northern Illinois University which was recently the site of a school shooting on Valentines day) I find myself most affected (in a totally selfish way) by the death of filmmaker and author (among other things), Alain Robbe-Grillet.

I discovered Alain Robbe-Grillet on a whim after seeing Last Year at Marienbad six or seven years ago. After watching more Alain Resnais films I came to the realization that it wasn't Resnais' work that had hit me so hard about the film, but rather Robbe-Grillet's script. This eventually led to me seeking out his novels and films, which I devoured and loved.

I have a lot to say about the man, as his films and books have been a constant source of both awe and inspiration over the years, but I just wanted to drop a quick note expressing my, well, sadness (though that word doesn't contextually seem to be the best fit) over his death. He had recently completely a novel (A Sentimental Novel) that had been a source of controversy in France, and hasn't seen an English translation yet (which is no suprise, considering there are still large chunks of his oeuvre that have yet to see the light of day in English accessible options; namely, most of his filmography as director, 2/3s of his "autobiographical" written trilogy, his collaboration with Irina Ionesco [the text of which was admittedly worked into some of his intertextual novels], and more), but I look forward to reading it whenever I get the opportunity.

His work has forced me to think about narrative in a way that I undoubtedly would have taken a longer time to come across; and his visual-textual collaborations have been particularly pertinent to the development of my own work.

Though I suppose it sounds trite to say, maybe every cloud does have a silver lining, and the death of a great artist will bring enough attention that hopefully more of his work (his films especially) will become available for a larger audience so more people can understand what it is that I personally find so utterly amazing.

9 Comments:

Blogger Cinebeats said...

Lovely piece Mike! It was a joy to read. I do expect that he left the world with a smile on his face but I regret that we will never have DVD releases of his films with commentary, etc. which is shameful really.

I know we've been exchanging emails lately about recent events, but I did want to say again that you're in my thoughts. Take care!

3:07 PM  
Blogger ID said...

Maldita muerte...

4:05 PM  
Blogger Jeremy Richey said...

I had no idea that was your school...I am so sorry and I hope you all are holding up okay.

Great piece on Robbe-Grillet. I posted some of my memories on how much his work meant to me as well this morning....take care.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Robert Monell said...

Hope you are OK Mike. Thanks for your pertinent thoughts on ARG. There's just so much of his work out there that I need to read and hopefully things like the novel's in collaboration with Magritte and other painters can be made more widely available.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Elliot James said...

I wouldn't have known save for your blog. There was nothing in the news about it. Does anyone know if Trans Europe Express is on a reg 1 DVD?

9:10 PM  
Blogger Béatrice said...

I can assure you that all of Robbe-Grillet's films are soon to be released on DVD (as a set). One of his very last telephone conversations was with the producer of the DVDs with whom he was due to meet to check the colour of the prints. The bonus of this set will include a series of previously unseen interviews between R-G and French TV presenter, Frédéric Taddeï.

6:13 PM  
Blogger mike said...

@beatrice:

Wow, that would be sincerely amazing news. Where did you hear this from?

8:37 PM  
Blogger Béatrice said...

I was a friend; we spoke about it a few days before he died. The problem at the moment is that one of the films has been blocked for copyright reasons, but they're working on it.

4:01 AM  
Blogger Béatrice said...

Cinebeats, I'm delighted to inform you that you're wrong. A DVD collection of Robbe-Grillet's entire cinematographic oeuvre is due for release at Christmas, including a long interview between R-G and French TV show host, Frédéric Tadeï. Included in the collection will be a number of short documentaries with R-G discussing his work.

3:30 AM  

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