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Alain Resnais

(b. 1922) French film director

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(1922– )

French film director, who became one of the New Wave of film-makers.

Born in Vannes, Resnais studied acting and attended the Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques. He first made several short documentaries, including Van Gogh (1948), Guernica (1950), in collaboration with Robert Hessens, and Nuit et brouillard (1955), a study of concentration camps. He then embarked on his first feature, the moving Hiroshima mon amour (1959), about a romance between a French woman and a Japanese man. This was followed by L'Année dernière à Marienbad (1961), which won the Venice Grand Prix. Throughout, Resnais has collaborated closely with such writers as Marguerite Duras (Hiroshima mon amour and Providence, 1977), Alain Robbe-Grillet (Marienbad), Jorge Semprun (La Guerre est finie, 1966), and Jacques Sternberg (Je t'aime, je t'aime, 1968, and Stavisky, 1974). He is much admired for the distinctive techniques he has developed to explore the thematic preoccupations of his films – memory and time. Resnais has won several awards, including a special prize awarded for Mon oncle d'Amérique (1980) at the Cannes Film Festival. Recent films include La Vie est un roman (1983), the highly acclaimed L'Amour à mort (1985), and Melo (1987). In 1993 he directed Smoking/No Smoking, a pair of linked films based on a play by Alan Ayckbourn.

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