Alain Resnais' ‘You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet‘ offers the notion that film and theater are one and the same
Alain Resnais' ‘You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet‘ is a tribute to the director's love of theater. More than that, it presents his notion that film and theater are one and the same. He plays with structure and narrative here much the way he always has, and that might be the film's biggest problem.
For those of us who think theater belongs on the stage, this one can be a chore to sit through. There is much to admire throughout, like the way Resnais plays with our notion of the canvas — the wall of a movie screen where actors usually play the story out to us, out there in the dark. He uses split screen and mirror images, sometimes film itself within a film to tell his story. So the problem then becomes, what of the story?
On its surface, the story is about a director who gathers his old cast together to watch a performance of a play they once performed, called "Eurydice." There are three women present; two of them play Eurydice and the other plays a mother. There are lots of men who play Eurydice's lover but it is never entirely clear who is the real Eurydice, or who is her lover — the actors all sort of switch around playing these characters. Just when you think you have a grasp of who's who, Resnais changes it up again.
It's difficult, if not impossible, to care about any of the characters, though they are enduring very intense emotional scenes. Those scenes play out somewhat irritatingly, because the characters are often saying things that don't make sense.
All the same, some people find total obscurity like that engaging. The women and men are so beautiful.
Resnais' own wife Sabine Azema plays Eurydice in her older incarnation and the ravishing Anne Consigny plays the younger Eurydice. The actors are well tuned to Resnais' sensibilities the way a theater ensemble would be. The play within a play within a play bleeds into reality. Major themes are worked through – love, sexual love, mortality, suicide, desire, jealousy. None of it means much in the end. This is a movie about actors and the theater. It is also about Resnais himself and his love for both.
If you can dig Resnais, even now, you'll probably love his latest.
It's hard not to admire a guy who is still making films at the age of 90. That is one tough hombre. When you get right down to it, the film is worth seeing for that reason alone.