The Image

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This fortnight’s edition of The Forgotten looks at THE MAN WHO LIES, by writer-director Alain Robbe-Grillet. I’ve meant to write something about him for ages, but never found an angle that made him clear to me. His erotic fantasies — sexy but queasy and dodgy — are presented in detail but never explored as to meaning, and don’t seem particularly connected to his interest in deconstructing narrative. A clue was provided by Mme. Robbe-Grillet’s revelations about her marital life, and I now see Robbe-Grillet as some kind of Hitchcockian fetishist, constructing filmed rituals as a kind of sublimation of the conventional sex drive.

As I explain here.

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8 Responses to “The Image”

  1. A R-G is all about S&M fetishes. That’s why Last Year at Marienbad is an exception to his work. Resnais removed what R-G wrote as a rape scene and substituted those over exposed shots of Delphine Seyrig repeatedly opening her arms and smiling.

    Catherine R-G is a famous dominatrix and litterateur. Recently she’s been collaborating on projects with my friend Dennis Cooper.

  2. A marriage made on the slopes of Hell! Marvelous.

    That overexposed sequence is still pretty disturbing… one senses something traumatic.

  3. But whose trauma? Delphine is smiling and opening her arms invitingly. IOW, far from a rape.

  4. “Delphine is smiling and opening her arms invitingly. IOW, far from a rape..”

    Perhaps that would be pretty disturbing and traumatic for Robbe-Grillet.

  5. What it feels like to me is the image of a happy Seyrig superimposed over the emotion of something disturbing, as if X were trying to block out a guilty or upsetting memory. This would be in keeping with other scenes where what he describes does not match up with what we see…

  6. True, but no representation of rape. And no chains either.
    Not at all like THIS!

  7. Agreed. Resnais has shown no particular fascination for sexual violence, ritualized or otherwise. With Robbe-Grillet it was an overriding obsession.

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