Plot: A teacher temporarily living in Turkey meets a nice girl and then loses her. He tries to find her again, but it's difficult because she probably no longer exists.
I haven't seen all of Brian de Palma's movies, and I didn't bother watching any other Alain Robbe-Grillet movies after loving Last Year at Marienbad so much several years ago. [Note: In my haste to finish writing about last year's movie, I didn't do any research. Robbe-Grillet only wrote Marienbad.] It was one of my favorite movies that I saw in 2009, and it made my list of "Museum Movies" that people really seemed to enjoy reading.
I watched this because I couldn't end my movie-watching year with The Secret Life of Pets. Although honestly, The Secret Life of Pets might have been a more fitting end to the rather shitty 2016.
This first Robbe-Grillet feature is as beguiling and wondrous as Marienbad. Poetic and puzzling but completely infectious, this is the kind of movie that you feel a lot more than you understand. There's a narrative, very likely even a protagonist and antagonist, and a series of events if you're halfway interested in rearranging it all into a chronological order that makes sense. But the fragmented quality and the repeated sequences give this a dreamlike quality that really forces it to settle into these recesses of the brain that don't get used very often unless you're drifting off into a restless sleep or thinking about a pretty girl you saw at a Long John Silvers once.
Every puzzle has pieces. My favorite piece in this is Francoise Brion who is absolutely stunning. The other star is Jacques Doniol-Valcroze's slouching shoulders. But the dogs, the belly dancer, a fisherman sitting in a chair, a car, a guy who I thought was blind but then turned out not to be blind, Venetian blinds, an antique salesman, and a bunch of people who are told to stand absolutely still at times all fill in spaces to complete the puzzle. And at the end, you have a half-completed puzzle, the kind that keeps you awake at night as you try to invent new pieces to fill in gaps.
I loved the music, too.
Just a stunning and haunting first movie from Robbe-Grillet. I'll make sure to do my best to watch more of his work in 2017 and less of things like The Secret Life of Pets.
Find me a shot in this movie, and you'll find a shot that I probably liked.