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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BFI blu-ray boxset
An excellent boxset of three blu-ray discs (BD50 in each case), each of which contains two films from Alain Robbe-Grillet.

The films themselves are interesting slices of non-linear, arthouse/surrealism with lashes of trashy sex and B-movie conventions throughout.

The most famous of these is the once-controversial Trans Europ Express, which still...
Published 3 months ago by Blood Freak

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars His films really do make you feel like a voyeur rather than a seer - but they ...
Alain Robbe-Grillet was not so much an enfant-terrible of the french cinema as an enfant-coquin. His films really do make you feel like a voyeur rather than a seer - but they are not without art. Having said this, I feel that his 'La Belle Captive' (not in this box set) is poor, very poor.

Most of the women featured in his films (and the focus is very much on...
Published 1 month ago by Dom Vlad Malic


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BFI blu-ray boxset, 4 July 2014
This review is from: Alain Robbe-Grillet: Six Films 1963-1974 (Blu-ray Box Set) (Blu-ray)
An excellent boxset of three blu-ray discs (BD50 in each case), each of which contains two films from Alain Robbe-Grillet.

The films themselves are interesting slices of non-linear, arthouse/surrealism with lashes of trashy sex and B-movie conventions throughout.

The most famous of these is the once-controversial Trans Europ Express, which still packs a punch and is easily the most accessible film here.

Having said that, Successive Slidings of Pleasure has a dark murder mystery at its core and is filled with haunting, graphic imagery (such as the photo on the boxset's cover).

Eden and After is also startling.

Picture quality for each film is very, very good (1080p HD). Original French audio in Master HD with optional English subtitles.

Extras include thorough Tim Lucas commentaries, 30-minute interviews with Robbe-Grillet for each film, introductions from his widow, and a collectors booklet with excellent liner notes.

The discs are Region B.

A fine set, well done BFI. Not for everyone, very arty and kinky. But I loved it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ROBBE-GRILLET BOX SET - AT LAST!, 11 July 2014
Alain Robbe-Grillet started out in 1950s as a 'serious' avant garde novelist with the nouveau roman and collaborated with Resnais on the arthouse hit Last Year at Marienbad. But half way through the 1960s he seems to have reinvented himself as a prankster provocateur, making films based on ideas of games & role-play and, not unrelated, his obsession with sadomasochistic role-play. The French New Wave was not amused & denounced the films as both shallow sub-Godard & a throwback to surrealism, and the films became even more unfashionable in 1970s, seen as politically incorrect, especially from a feminist point of view.
However, the 1990s explosion of interest in 'cult' cinema led to a revival of interest in Robbe-Grillet, although people generally only know his films from poor copies of old videos, often without subtitles, circulating online.
So this BFI box set has been genuinely long awaited & I'm pleased to report that it is just about exactly what people have been hoping for - 6 films on 5 discs: restored prints, new English subtitles, each film also has its trailer, long interviews with Robbe-Grillet filmed shortly before his death (he doesn't look a well man) plus new short personal (& eccentric) introductions to each film by Catherine Robbe-Grillet and detailed & informative audio commentaries from cult film guru Tim Lucas. There's also a booklet with an overview essay. Unfortunately there is one film from the period Le Jeu avec le feu (1975) missing - oh well you can't have everything.
Robbe-Grillet uses pulp fiction plots but reorders the scenes into various permutations, like a set of musical variations. He also fragments the editing / juxtaposition of individual shots in the hyper-montage 'mosaic' or scrambled jigsaw style (think Nic Roeg or East European directors of the 1960s). Initially the idea seemed to be to evoke the stream of consciousness - the way the mind zaps back & forth through perceptions, memory, imagination and fantasy, but Robbe-Grillet carried on long after the style became passé, it became his very own signature style.
Obviously these films will not appeal to everyone, but I suspect that in 2014 Robbe-Grillet's style will be quite accessible and that, notwithstanding the S/M elements, more people will enjoy the period 1970s hippy eroticism rather than be offended by it.

Here's a few quick thoughts on the films:
DISC ONE: THE IMMORTAL ONE (1963) a man visiting 'exotic' Istanbul encounters a femme fatale, after she mysteriously disappears he tries to find her again. This is very much a companion piece to Marienbad, lots of long tracking shots, beautiful black & white cinematography. This film has always had a bad press, but I thought it was very dreamy & haunting (if a little soporific). I'm sure David Lynch must have seen this when he was a young impressionable film student
DISC TWO: TRANS EUROPE EXPRESS (1967) probably the best known film here & the closest to Godard / New Wave. Robbe-Grillet and wife Catherine on the express, trying to come up with a thriller plot for a film about a smuggler on a train. Trintignan is also on the train, playing himself playing the actor who plays the smuggler. Gradually the lines between the story and making up the story become hopelessly blurred. Not just a funny in-joke, the film gets quite haunting and with a disturbing edge (largely because of the S/M scenes). The great Jean-Louis Trintignan is perfect in the lead role(s). Black & white - a decent print showing up the intriguing cinematography & editing
DISC THREE: THE MAN WHO LIES (1968) a man returns to a village after the war and tells various contradictory stories about his time in the resistance - are he and his still missing comrade heroes or traitors? Black & white, outstanding cinematography. A rather downbeat film, similar to Robbe-Grillet's early novels. Of course he throws in some erotic scenes but they seemed a rather inappropriate distraction to me. Still, a very interesting film (a big favourite of Deleuze) - Robbe-Grillet was certainly lucky to have Trintignan as his leading man, I can't imagine anyone else pulling off these kinds of complicated self-reflexive roles.
DISC FOUR: EDEN AND AFTER (1970) + N TOOK THE DICE (1971) Into the 1970s with a switch into blazing full-on colour cinematography, beautiful sets and beautiful landscapes - and beautiful cast! The ostensible plot is even less important than in the other films, suffice to say Catherine Jourdan (last seen in the cloakroom with Alain Delon in Melville's Le Samurai) runs about a lot in various states of undress. The first part of Eden concerns the decadent nihilist younger generation acting out games & role-plays for kicks (the ageing director's fantasy of permissive youth, no doubt) but the second half of the film set in Tunisia gets completely tripped out and all the better for it. I particularly like the bit when Jourdan encounters her double.
Robbe-Grillet used chance procedures to rearrange the sequences of scenes & permutations of shots in Eden to make an alternate version for French TV, a kind of 'remix', which in part explains the method of Eden but ends up becoming a rather laboured pastiche of the original film. It brought to mind Mike Figgis' Timecode and the possibility of multiple versions of the same film. N Took the Dice has been little seen, so well done BFI for including it here.
DISC FIVE: SUCCESSIVE SLIDINGS OF PLEASURE (1974) By this point Robbe-Grillet was improvising his films quickly on low budgets and this film is little more than the director's usual fetishistic obsessions thrown together in a jokey way without much real sense of structure or purpose. The film still manages to look good with some memorable images & scenes (particularly the various scenes on the coast & beach) but the law of diminishing returns was setting in. Lead actress Anicee Alvina is decorous but a bit weak with the dialogue (such as it is) and struggles to hold the film together the way Robbe-Grillet's previous leading actors & actresses did.

Overall, I guess questions of whether these films are subversive or reactionary, art or pornography - or even good or bad - have become irrelevant. Anyone already interested in Robbe-Grillet's films will thoroughly enjoy this box set - anyone else should probably proceed with caution.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars His films really do make you feel like a voyeur rather than a seer - but they ..., 24 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Alain Robbe-Grillet: Six Films 1963-1974 (Blu-ray Box Set) (Blu-ray)
Alain Robbe-Grillet was not so much an enfant-terrible of the french cinema as an enfant-coquin. His films really do make you feel like a voyeur rather than a seer - but they are not without art. Having said this, I feel that his 'La Belle Captive' (not in this box set) is poor, very poor.

Most of the women featured in his films (and the focus is very much on females) including his wife, are very, very beautiful. The cinema-photography is excellent - whether in black and white or colour. The script is, well, an attempt at surrealism without the greatness of Brunel - and has many repetitive 'icons' or 'fetishes' - the colour red, broken glass, shoes, the female body, the shore. I feel that his films are a product of passion of anteros rather than eros (unrequited, physical passion rather than spiritual, unconditional love) which seem to reflect Robbe=Grillet's own condition.

For anyone interested in French or word cinema - they are a must. But do not expect to be entertained. I've struggled trying to contextualise his work - and the best I can come up with is a cross between Dali and a more Gallic, sophisticated (if there can be such a thing) Benny Hill.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 21 Aug 2014
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Classics but still bewildering- one Marienberg is enough.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 8 Sep 2014
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Brilliant !
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Alain Robbe-Grillet: Six Films 1963-1974 (Blu-ray Box Set)
Alain Robbe-Grillet: Six Films 1963-1974 (Blu-ray Box Set) by Alain Robbe-Grillet (Blu-ray - 2014)
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