PAUSE IT: What do you see? A Frame within a frame. Formalist director Alain Robbe-Grillet, a leading voice of the Nouveau Roman (new novel) movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s, paints a pretty picture. A painting rests on an easel overlooking a shoreline. But where are we exactly? From the sights and sounds around us it would appear as though we are simultaneously at the beach and on the front of a stage. Using plush red curtains to heighten our sense of theatricality, Robbe-Grillet transports us inside a complex image. Contrasting one another, the painting and the vista scene it was painted from are not the same. Robbe-Grillet became famous for constructing images with a painstaking attention to detail. He became obsessed with objects, space, and time to such a degree that these more experimental concerns often trumped a traditional focus on plot, character, and story resolution. Endlessly fascinated with the ways in which and HOW we tell our stories, Robbe-Grillet’s lasting legacy is that of one of cinema’s great stylist.
March 2, 2016