Resnais. Resnais may have been more influential than he is accomplished. I hope another study of his work proves me wrong. Resnais does not have a top 500 film of all-time and there are plenty of directors that do at this point so that’s a weakness. However, the level of authorship in his films certainly trumps someone like Robert Wise or like Leo McCarey and the 3 films that rank in the top 100 of their respective decade is a strength at this point this far down the list. I’ll get to it more below in stylistic traits and innovation but Resnais eschewed the conventional narrative and his films have an ethereal, surreal quality to them

Best film: Last Year at Marienbad. Jaw-dropping visuals are accompanied by a labyrinth of a narrative.

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total archiveable films: 6

top 100 films:  0

top 500 films:  0

top 100 films of the decade:  3 (Last Year at Marienbad, Mon Oncle d’Amerique, Hiroshima Mon Amour)

most overrated: Resnais is ranked as the #32 director on the TSPDT page and I have him at #142 so this is one of the widest gulfs. So naturally there are a ton of over overrated films here. I’ll pick on Hiroshima mon amour– it currently sits at #110 at on consensus list and I do not have it anywhere near there- I’m at least 500 slows lower than that.

most underrated:  Mon oncle d’Amerique throughout impressed me a decade ago when I was first able to catch it. I have it a couple hundred slots higher than spot there TSPDT has it (#899)

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gem I want to spotlight :  Providence. A stunner here below—it may be the closest Resnais ever came to the high-water mark of Marienbad visually.

stylistic innovations/traits:   Resnais is the enigma that emerged in the French New Wave. The dream-like and bizarre (and this is a group that includes Godard) has been highly influential on Apichatpong Weerasethakul, David Lynch and everything and everyone connected to surrealism and memory. I also see Marienbad’s set piece perfectionism influence on everyone from Kubrick to Lanthimos.

Marienbad’s set piece perfectionism influence on everyone from Kubrick to Lanthimos.
Marienbad‘s superior visuals have much more to them than just the stunning lawn set piece

top 10

  1. Last Year at Marienbad
  2. Mon Oncle d’Amerique
  3. Hiroshima Mon Amour
  4. Providence
  5. Muriel
  6. Life is a Bed of Roses

By year and grades

1959- Hiroshima Mon Amour HR
1961- Last Year at Marienbad MS
1963- Muriel R
1977- Providence
1980- Mon Oncle d’Amérique MS
1983- Life is Bed of Roses R

*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film

MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film

HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film

R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives