If you’re looking for a movie to check out this weekend in NYC, you could do much worse than Alain Resnais’s Private Fears in Public Places, which is currently entering its umpteenth week at the IFC Center. I know this blog post is about a month and a half late, but better late than never, I suppose. Nick Pinkerton’s mild put-down out of the New York Film Festival didn’t exactly encourage me to drop two hours on it, and though I don’t necessarily disagree with the thrust of his argument, I think the film’s cool surface sheen belies a brimming vitality that left me more than satisfied. I lost count of how many times the colorful, ingenious production design was carefully framed around the actors to provide a kind of abstract background for Ayckbourne’s roundelay–almost as though Resnais, whose Muriel and Je t’aime je t’aime fractured time and space with abandon was still looking for new ways to disorient his audiences. And tasteful as the music, transitions, and overall scenario may be, it still takes a real filmmaker to make this stuff hum; we’re not talking about Venus Beauty Institute here. If this is an old man’s cinema, then I’m looking forward to my golden years at the movies.
I think it’s running on a single matinee show downtown…and for those in the hinterlands where it hasn’t played yet, maybe it’ll be out your way soon.