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Alain Renais's condensing of Chrisitan Gailly's novel "L'incident" functions more as a random cinematic lark than it does as a film. It's a kind of filmic bookmark in the storied career of a filmmaker looking back fondly on a long life spent making films.
At 88 Renais, who made his first film ("L'aventure de Guy") in 1936 and peaked in 1961 with the lovely and inscrutable "Last Year at Marienbad," pleases himself with visual references that bend toward the artifice of cinematic language for its own sake.
Set up as a kind of romantic game of cat-and-mouse, Andre Dussollier plays family man Georges Palet, who discovers a stolen wallet belonging to an unmarried dentist and aviation enthusiast named Marguerite Muir (Sabine Azema).
Georges toys with the idea of striking up a romantic relationship with Marguerite. He calls her to return the wallet but is rude on the phone. Georges turns into a bit of a stalker, leaving numerous telephone messages and a handwritten note in her apartment mailbox before taking out his aggression on her car tires.
Geroges's romantic intentions and perceived disloyalty to his wife are mere distractions for characters with no clear objectives.
"Wild Grass," as its title implies, might be momentarily pleasing to look at, but boredom sets in before the story takes an inexplicably disastrous turn at the end. Old age has taken its toll.
Rated PG. 104 mins.
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