Smoking/No Smoking (1993)
Using Alan Ayckbourn's play Intimate Exchanges as his basis, Alain Resnais ruminates about existential matters in the midst of a highly theatrical blend of sitcom, soap opera and boulevard farce in Smoking/No Smoking. Through an unusual process, the famed French director (Hiroshima, Mon Amour, Last Year at Marienbad) finds both emotional and intellectual depth in material that would have been either heavy-handed or plain silly in other, less capable hands.

Not one but two separate yet interlocking films, adapted from British playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s Intimate Exchanges, a little-seen tour de force that provided its audience with one of 16 alternative endings depending on the night they would see the production. Jean-Pierre Bacri and Agnes Jaoui’s script whittles the original endings and divides the original play into two movies, both taking up from the exact same starting point: in the Yorkshire village of Hutton Buscel, Celia, the local headmaster’s wife, is doing her Spring cleaning and takes a small break in her garden. In Smoking, she picks up a cigarette; in No Smoking, she chooses not to, and this is where both films diverge. Smoking follows Celia and her destructive relationship with her alcoholic husband Toby, No Smoking opts instead for Toby’s best friend, Miles, who harbours a secret passion for Celia while living a miserable marriage with his unfaithful wife Rowena. If it sounds complicated, there’s more to come as each film provides seven possible endings, both feature exactly the same set of nine characters and all roles are played by the same two actors, Resnais regulars Pierre Arditi and Sabine Azema.

2 x DVD9 | PAL 16:9 | 02:19:55 + 02:21:13 | 7.01 Gb + 6.66 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Francais, Espanol
Subtitles: English, Espanol

3 x DVD9 | PAL 16:9 | 02:19:26 + 02:21:00 | 7.44 Gb + 7.52 Gb + 6.13 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Francais
Subtitles: none

-- Entretien avec Alain Resnais (31 min)
-- Dialogue entre Sabine Azema et Pierre Arditi (15 min)
-- Portrait d'Alan Ayckbourn (60 min)
-- Rencontre avec Jackie Budin (7 min)
-- Le film annonce

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