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The Forgotten: Alain Robbe-Grillet's "The Man Who Lies" (1968)

It didn't take long for Alain Robbe-Grillet to plunge into directing, after the success of his literary career (as doyen of the nouvelle roman) and his screenplay for Last Year at Marienbad. And it didn't take long after L'immortelle, his 1963 debut, for him to plunge into porn. Trans-Europ Express (1966) was banned in Britain, its scenes of s&m kink far too extreme for Anglo sensibilities at the time. We were still reeling from Jane Birkin's pubes. We weren't ready for chains and rape fantasies. Still aren't, probably.1968's The Man Who Lies again stars Jean-Louis Trintignant, but seems a step back from the extremes of the previous flick. There's little nudity, little sex. But the whole film is redolent of a ritualized, fetishized, sublimated sex, played out in non-sexual arenas.The film also has a lot in common with Marienbad, since it plays a constant game of "what is truth?

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