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LIFE OF RILEY (2014) (Masters of Cinema) Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD)
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Alain Resnais's (Last Year at Marienbad, Hiroshima mon amour) final film before his death in March 2014 is a moving, graceful, and surprisingly affirmative farewell to life from a truly great artist.
In the midst of rehearsals for a new play, amateur dramatics proponents Colin and Kathryn receive the shattering news that their friend George is fatally ill and only has a few months to live. Life begins to come apart at the seams not just for Kathryn, who was once George's partner, but also for her friends Tamara and Monica. The full force of the emotional turmoil they experienced in their youth and their long-buried dreams are rekindled. Much to the chagrin of their respectable, middle-class husbands, the women begin to argue about which of them should be allowed to accompany George on a final journey...
After Smoking/No Smoking  and Private Fears in Public Places , this is the late Alain Resnais's third adaptation of a work by British playwright Alan Ayckbourn and the great masters last film. By confining the action to an artificial, almost entirely studio-bound world, he succeeds in creating a tragicomic theatre of vanities. Employing the ironic distance of a sage observer of human nature, Resnais ponders the power of love and desire and in doing so enables his characters, driven by their longings, hopes and obsessions, to leave the beaten track for once. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to release Alain Resnais's (unintentional) swan song is a Dual Format special edition
- 1080p presentation of the film on the Blu-ray
- New and exclusive video interview about the film with critic and scholar Geoffrey O'Brien
- Original theatrical trailer
- Interviews with the cast
- 36-PAGE BOOKLET featuring a new essay by critic Cristina Álvarez López; a new note on his collaborations with Alain Resnais by playwright Alan Ayckbourn; and production imagery
Artfully exposing cinema's debt to theatricality, Alain Resnais's impeccably designed take on Alan Ayckbourn's stage study of the secrets and half-truths destabilising a Yorkshire amdram company affords a final opportunity to see a master at work. A mischievously melancholic delight. ★★★★ --David Parkinson, Empire
charming, delicately performed and unexpectedly poignant ★★★★ --Allan Hunter, Daily Express
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They decide the play must go on but they will all rally around for George - whom they all have great affection for. The play unravels the motivations of all the players in a slow reveal that can be amusing and at times stylistically `stagey'. It is also filmed on artificial sets to give the added feeling of being am dram and an actual play which will please or annoy depending on your taste. Thespians will appreciate the homage to the theatre.
The performances were all good, and the story is fine, but I felt it dragged a bit in parts, and it is only 109 minutes long. Still this is a fine swan song for Resnais who we sadly lost after he made this film. He was a marvellous talent of the French film industry and will be very much missed - if you are a fan of his work then I am sure you will not be disappointed in this - his last film.