Tuesday, August 5, 2014
La chant de la styrène (1958)
Alain Resnais documentary on the joys of styrene was by commissioned by Péchiney,a manufacturer of plastic products.
While very much an industrial documentary the film also is clearly trying to be more. Of course this isn't surprising owing to the involvement of both Renais and Sacha Vierny. While the visuals may be similar to other industrial films (the subject matter kind of makes it hard to get away from it) its rare that you'd get an opening quote from Victor Hugo or such pithy commentary.
My interest in the film comes from a discussion in the Walter Reade theater at Lincoln Center I had with Hubert during the New York Film Festival. I'm not sure it was due to a screening of a Resnais film, but Hubert went on in great detail about this film, insisting that I had to track it down. Regrettably my efforts to do so were kind of halfhearted, and it wasn't until Renais passed away and Hubert posted a link that I got to see it.
The film is trip. It really is. There is something about it that hangs with you more than any industrial film should. Admittedly seeing the film on a small laptop is not the way to go since the film was shot in a glorious widescreen that no doubt would the images truly over powering on a suitably huge screen.
Track the film down- preferably when it gets one of its ultra-rare big screen showings... see it or I'll send Hubert to your house to make you watch it.
"La chant de la styrène", Alain Resnais (1958) from ESCOPOFÍLIA on Vimeo.