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Muriel, or The Time of Return
Directed by Alain Resnais • 1963 • France
Alain Resnais's Muriel, or The Time of Return, the director's follow-up to Last Year at Marienbad, is as radical a reflection on the nature of time and memory as its predecessor. The always luminous Delphine Seyrig stars as an antique shop owner and widow in Boulogne-sur-Mer, whose past comes back to haunt her when a former lover reenters her life. Meanwhile, her stepson is tormented by his own ghosts, related to his service in France's recently ended war in Algeria. Featuring a multilayered script by Jean Cayrol and inventively edited to evoke its middle-class characters' political and personal realities, the fragmented, emotionally powerful Muriel reminds viewers that the past is always present.