Alain Resnais' 2006 adaptation of a British play by Alan Ayckbourn is a world apart from his earlier Ayckbourn adaptation, Smoking/No Smoking (1993). That film tried to be as “English” as possible, but this time Resnais looks for precise French equivalents to British qualities, and what emerges is one of his most personal works, intermittently recalling the melancholy Muriel (1963) and Providence (1977). A bittersweet comedy of loneliness, shyness, and repression, it was shot entirely on cozy sets, with a continual snowfall outside, and its interwoven plots feature Resnais standbys Sabine Azema, Pierre Arditi, Andre Dussollier, and Lambert Wilson. At 85, the director is not only a consummate master but arguably the last great embodiment of the craft, style, and feeling of classical Hollywood. In French with subtitles. 120 min.
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