When Muriel, or The Time of Return premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in 1963, it was not only hailed as a triumph by Jean Cocteau (“a terrible masterwork”), Jean-Luc Godard, and Henri Langlois but also won the award for Best Actress (Delphine Seyrig). This sienna-toned feature is an autumnal chamber drama about a widow and her son who live in an antique shop in Boulogne. The widow invites a man whom she loved twenty-two years earlier to visit. Her son is haunted by Muriel, a young woman whose death he may have caused while serving as a soldier in Algeria. As in Resnais’s earlier films, Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959) and Last Year at Marienbad (1961), memory is deflected, fragmented, enshrined, and imagined.
Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film.