"Wild Grass" is about an unlikely and fateful chain of events that to a young person might seem like coincidence but to an older one illustrates the likelihood that most of what happens in our lives comes about by sheer accident. This is the latest work by Alain Resnais, who may have learned this by experience: There’s a springtime in your life when you think it should add up and make sense, and an autumn when you think, the hell with it, anything can happen.
Resnais has been making films since the dawn of the New Wave: "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" (1959) and "Last Year at Marienbad" (1961). Now he’s 88. Preparing to write, I decided not to mention his age, in fear that some readers might think a director that age couldn’t possibly be engaging. But praise must be given. “Wild Grass” is carefree and anarchic, takes bold risks, spins in unexpected directions.
It uses a narrator, which is just as well, because only from an all-knowing point of view can the labyrinth of connections be seen. The narrator begins by telling us that all the subsequent events will take place because the heroine, Marguerite (Sabine Azema), required a shoe size that was hard to find. Therefore on an impulse, she went into a shoe store, found the right shoes and walked out just in time to have her purse snatched by a thief.
Her billfold is later found by Georges (Andre Dussollier), a married man. In the billfold, he sees her photograph and learns she is single, a dentist and a private pilot. He finds it necessary to meet her. This isn’t so easy to arrange. Georges, in the meantime, is the subject of several oblique suggestions that Resnais is never all that clear about. Does he have fearsome secrets? Does he harbor fantasies? Is his mind coming apart?