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Negative Zone, Mon Amour: Stan Lee Wrote a Screenplay with Alain Resnais

Posted by Charles Reece, December 2, 2012 09:37pm | Post a Comment
fantastic four issue 42 page 15 jack kirby
From Fantastic Four #42, p. 15. Art by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta

I knew Federico Fellini was a fan of 60s Marvel Comics, but was surprised to learn from Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story that not only was Alain Resnais a big fan, he also had plans on making a film with Stan Lee. Fellini was a former cartoonist and I can easily imagine the Marvel Method guiding an Italian production: film a bunch of scenes, then have actors overdub whatever lines Lee wrote after seeing the completed visuals. Resnais, on the other hand, seems snootier and a lot more abstract in his work. Nevertheless, what he and Lee came up was this (as described by The Man himself): "The Monster Maker is a realistic fantasy about a frustrated movie producer who overcomes his frustrations through trying to solve the problems of pollution [...]. There will be lots of symbolism -- and garbage." [quoted in Howe, p. 114] Sounds like they were breaking even with their combined cultural capital. And it's certainly true that both men shared a love for portentous dialogue. Man, I'd love to read this script.

Rive Gauche

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 7, 2008 09:14pm | Post a Comment

Roughly occurring at the same time as the more well-known and more celebrated French Nouvelle Vague (or New Wave), another group of frequently collaborative film-makers were grouped together under the moniker "Rive Gauche," named after Paris' artsy side. These film-makers (Agnès Varda, Chris Marker, Jean Cayrol, Henri Colpi, Marguerite Duras, Alain Robbe-Grillet,) applied to film the concepts which defined the Nouveau Romain in contemporaneous literature. Duras and Robbe-Grillet were also writers and associated with the literary movement in which experimental authors sought to create a new style with each work. Together, they produced an amazing body of film which remains largely overshadowed by the much more popular New Wave, though no less interesting or significant.

Because of the film-makers' approach to art and their being French, as well as contemporaries of the New Wave, they're often lumped in with them even though the New Wave, while radically experimental, was more stylistically consistent due its focus on the director as the film's author. Ironically, the New Wave view served to encourage the personal and recognizable authorial nature of film, whereas members of the Rive Gauche often sought to depersonalize their works in an attempt to defy expectations, placing them in polar opposition in this regard.



Alain Resnais began making films in the 1940s. He is best known for his films Nuit Et Brouiilard (1955), Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) and L'Anee Derniere a Marienbad (1961).

Nuit Et Brouillard stands alone in cinematic history in its depiction of the Jewish Holocaust. Resnais avoided the familiar black and white stock-footage for most of the film and instead presented tranquil scenes of the by-then abandoned concentration camps in color, with flowers growing through the cracks and sun beams shining on the desolate remains. Compare, for example, Nuit Et Brouiilard to a cinematically conservative film like Schindler's List. Spielberg chose to film in black and white (both literally and morally), with big name actors and with action unfolding in a familiarly un-ending winter that makes the events seem cliche and safely remote.

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