Archive of films Life of Riley / Aimer, boire et chanter

2014, 108 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2014

In his last film the great French filmmaker returns to British dramatist Alan Ackbourn, whose plays also inspired Smoking/No Smoking (1993) and Private Fears in Public Places (2006). In his theatrically stylised tale of memories and unfulfilled dreams, Alain Resnais employs both ironic detachment and understanding as he captures the tragicomic facets of human spontaneity.


Colin and Kathryn are rehearsing a new play with their amateur theatre company when they find out that their friend George is seriously ill and has only a few months to live. This is devastating news not only for Kathryn, who was once in a relationship with George, but also for her friends, Tamara and Monica. They reminisce about their youth, long buried in respectable marriages, and discuss which of them should support George during his last months. In his final film, the recently deceased Alain Resnais returned to the work of British dramatist Alan Ayckbourn, whose plays provided material for the films Smoking/No Smoking (1993) and Private Fears in Public Places (2006). The story unfolds in the theatrically stylised world of middle-class intellectuals, which Resnais views with ironic detachment. Quarrels flare up as memories are relived, a process which brings out the tragicomic qualities of human spontaneity, unfulfilled dreams, desires and disappointment in characters for whom the great French filmmaker had a prudent and benign understanding.

About the director

Alain Resnais

Alain Resnais (b. 1922, Vannes, France – 2014, Paris), one of the most celebrated directors of the latter half of the 20th century, had a considerable impact on the development of film narration. His extensive filmography reflects his commitment to social and political issues (Muriel, 1963; The War Is Over, 1966, Far from Vietnam, 1967), and his attempts to probe the essence of man, the anatomy of dreams and the human subconscious (Hiroshima, Mon Amour, 1959; Last Year at Marienbad, 1961; Providence, 1976). His late movies reveal a blend of incisive intellect, sophisticated humour, ironic detachment and a dose of the bizarre coupled with the benevolent insight of wisdom (Smoking/No Smoking, 1993; Same Old Song, 2007; Not on the Lips, 2003; Private Fears in Public Places, 2006; Wild Grass, 2009; You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, 2011).


Le Pacte
5, rue Darcet, 750 17, Paris
Tel: +33 144 695 959
Fax: +33 144 695 942
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Horizons
Director: Alain Resnais
Screenplay: Laurent Herbiet, Alex Reval, Jean-Marie Besset podle románu / based on the novel by Alan Ayckbourn
Dir. of Photography: Dominique Bouilleret
Music: Mark Snow
Editor: Hervé de Luze
Producer: Jean-Louis Livi
Production: F comme film
Coproduction: France 2 Cinéma
Cast: Sabine Azéma, Sandrine Kiberlain, Caroline Sihol, André Dussollier, Hippolyte Girardot
Contact: Le Pacte

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