Resnais 100

A spell-casting mood piece … [Stavisky] is one of the most rewarding films I’ve seen this year—and also one of the most intelligent.”

Nora Sayre, New York Times

Iconic nouvelle vague actor Jean-Paul Belmondo sizzles as a turn-of-the-century con man swept up in political machinations in Alain Resnais’s resplendent costume drama, which reunited the director with his La guerre est finie screenwriter Jorge Semprún. Belmondo, brilliantly cast, plays the sartorially suave Serge Alexandre Stavisky, a real-life swindler whose ascent to French moguldom through mass embezzlement and political hobnobbing precipitated a nationwide scandal that nearly capsized the government. Resnais’s visually decadent film charts the arc of the Icarian hero against a backdrop of moral decay and rising fascism. Veteran actor Charles Boye, as an impoverished Spanish nobleman in need of political favour, garnered some of the best notices of his career. Future Resnais lead Gérard Depardieu appears in a minor role; legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim wrote the elegant score.

Jean-Paul Belmondo [is] perfectly cast … [He] has grown and become more subtle over the years, and in Stavisky he gives us his most complex and probably his best performance.”

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

A rich and thrilling film experience, mysterious, stimulating, and unexpectedly affecting … Charles Boyer gives one of the finest performances in his long career … Belmondo’s finest hour … A truly superior film.”

Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times
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