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Un homme qui écrit au cinéma : Providence ou les films de Resnais comme machines à lire des romans

Abstract : AApart from his latest film Resnais has always been reluctant about the adaptation of novels despite working for many years exclusively with writers who were mainly novelists. However, Providence (1977), his first film ever to have been written by a professional playwright, stages an elderlywriter, sick and alcoholic, in the course of imagining scenes, alternating between the horrific and the comic, of an ultimate novel the heroes of which are none other than his own next of kin. This paradox constitutes the core of the present essay which is centered around a film of rare precision regarding the literary creation, and its diptycal structure provides a deep insight into the links of fiction and reality. By rehabilitating the notion of “literary cinema”, while bursting the far too limiting frame of adaptation, and while presenting the storytelling rather than the showing as Resnais’ major engagement, the present analysis explores the more intimate relations between books and films. While enabling the return to fundamental novelists of modernity such as Melville, Proust and Faulkner, Resnais’ cinematographic machine may find in their texts its most efficient use. Through its active mise en abyme Providence reveals the profound affinities between writing novels and committing suicide. Tormented by his wife’s suicide which he places in the centre of a story where the elderly, transformed into werewolves, are locked in the extermination stages of a state of terror, at the heart of his nocturnal manor in Providence, the grantécrivain and pathetic demiurge is struggling to frighten us with his own agony. This probably makes him the most truthful of all abymed writers in cinema.
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Jean Regazzi. Un homme qui écrit au cinéma : Providence ou les films de Resnais comme machines à lire des romans. Musique, musicologie et arts de la scène. Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle - Paris III, 2009. Français. ⟨NNT : 2009PA030018⟩. ⟨tel-02924448⟩

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