Alain Robbe-Grillet 1922-2008

There is sad news today of the death of Alain Robbe-Grillet who has left this world at the ripe old age of 85. GreenCine Daily has collected some links to news stories and various articles about this talented writer and director. I also recommend Robert Monell’s brief piece The Films of Alain Robbe-Grillet and the Alain Robbe-Grillet Bibliography.

Eden and After (L’ Éden et après, 1970)

18 thoughts on “Alain Robbe-Grillet 1922 – 2008

  1. Compelling clip. “Last Year in Marienbad” is one of my favorite films, but I don’t think I’ve seen any of Robe-Grillet’s directorial work. It’s a shame to lose him and Kon Ichikawa in such rapid succession.

  2. Maybe his films will be released on DVD now. Certainly my curiosity is piqued after reading the section on him in ‘Immoral Tales’ by Tombs and Cahill.
    anyone have a favorite novel? ‘The Erasers’ looks interesting.

  3. @adrien:
    my favorite novels of his are Topology of a Phantom City and La Maison de Rendezvous, but most of his entire oeuvre is worth checking out.

  4. My own experience with Alain Robbe-Grillet’s work is minimal, but I’ve been very impressed by what little I have seen/read.

    I can recommend his novel The Voyeur, which is easily available and translated in English.

    As for his films, I’ve only seen two of them; Trans-Europ-Express and Eden and After. But I highly recommend both (Trans-Europ-Express is probably my favorite of the two). I’ve also seen Last Year at Marienbad numerous times as well. Lately there seems to be a lot of interest in Marienbad thanks to the newly restored print of the film being shown in various theaters around the U.S. and I suspect that his death will only add to the growing interest in the film. And as Mike pointed out in his blog, his death will probably encourage DVD companies and book publishers to release more of his work.

    I find it very depressing to think that the death of great artists, filmmakers, writers, etc. often leads to a wider appreciation of their work.

    My experience with Kon Ichikawa’s work has only been with seeing a video copy of An Actor’s Revenge some 16 years ago just once, which I can remember enjoying but I wasn’t very engaged with his work so I’m afraid his death didn’t really touch me (no fault of his of course). I suspect more of his films will be finding their way onto DVD in the future as well.

  5. I got to meet Robbe-Grillet briefly when he was teaching at NYU. I had gotten in touch with Monte Hellman and as I recall wrote to mention that Robbe-Grillet was in NYC. At the time, Hellman was hoping to make of film of “La Maison de Rendez-Vous”. Not too much to say except that I acted as a go-between for a film that never got made. This was around 1971 or 72. I did get treated to lunch by Hellman a few years later when I met him at Telluride.

  6. I’ve read Jealousy and The Voyeur, and I also have his grammar book “Djinn,” which I revisit fairly often. Once you get past the rather convoluted central conceit, it’s a great book for anyone who’s into languages and grammar.

    It’s always sad, news of this kind. Strange coincidence, too, that Last Year at Marienbad has just had a revival in NY…

  7. Since Last Year in Marienbad is now playing some festivals, will it soon be released by, say, Criterion? The old DVD of it is going for around $80 to $200, and Netflix doesn’t carry it any longer. I saw it quite awhile ago and remember loving it, but long to watch it again…

  8. Extremely sad way to start out the week. I posted some memories over at Moon In The Gutter this morning. I fell in love with his work as a teenager and he had a huge effect on me.
    I have most of his films (all in fairly poor quality) and my favorites are probably EDEN AND AFTER and SLOW SLIDINGS OF PLEASURE…I would love to get a copy of PLAYING WITH FIRE with subs as mine is French language only…anyway, tragic loss as he was still putting out quality work and still changing lives…

  9. Many thanks to everyone who has left comments and for sharing your memories and thoughts about Alain Robbe-Grillet’s work! He lived a long and very productive life so I don’t see his death as a tragedy myself, but it’s always a bit sad when people you admire leave this world.

    Will – I guess the old Last Year in Marienbad DVD is now out of print, which is why it sells for such ridiculous prices. I keep reading rumors about a possible Criterion release so maybe the film will get re-released soon. I own the old Fox Lorber DVD and I’m surprised it’s not available for rent anywhere. It seems ridiculous that such an important film is currently so hard to see.

  10. Thanks Tim! I started thinking the exact same thing after I uploaded it. She does appear very death like in that image.

    I also wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading your personal post about Alain Robbe-Grillet. It’s encouraged me to seek out more of his writing since I’ve only managed to read The Voyeur myself.

  11. Alain Resnais can’t be too far behind him.

    Bergman’s gone… Antonioni’s gone… Norman Mailer’s gone…

    Who’s filling the shoes?? Haneke is it in the film world!
    Any New Novelists surviving?

  12. Very sad news of his death. His films are great, -Eden and After, Slow Slidings of Pleasure, Playing with Fire, tricky, weird set pieces – films like nothing else anyone has made. They are visually striking -dream-like. How I miss the 1960’s and 1970’s!!!!!!!!

  13. This short moment of cinema reminds me “Vampyros Lesbos” of Jess Franco but it’s much less poetic and inventive (in particular with sound).

  14. So sad…I remember having to read La Jalousie in college and it just startled me how brilliant it was. I also enjoyed the Erasers…so my real experience has been literary.

    I look forward to delving into his films..

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