One of the greatest French directors of all time. He was born in the Breton city of Vannes, France on 3 June 1922. His father was a pharmacist and held the position of mayor of Treffléan for eighteen years. Alain began experimenting with his Kodak camera when he was twelve, making short films based on Fantomas. He went to Paris in 1939 with the aim of becoming an actor and became assistant to theatre director Georges Pitoeff. He made his acting debut with a small part in the Marcel Carné film Les visiteurs du soir in 1942, where, as coincidence would have it, Michelangelo Antonioni was the assistant director. The following year he qualified as an editor at IDHEC and in 1946 he was assistant director and editor on the film Paris 1900. His official debut as a director was the brilliant short film Van Gogh of 1948, which, as well as an award at the Venice Festival, even got an Oscar. He then made some very interesting shorts, among them Guernica, Gaguin and especially Night and Fog, whose World War II theme earned the film censorship problems in France. In 1959 he released his first feature at the same time as the emergence of the Nouvelle Vague. The film was of course the masterpiece Hiroshima Mon Amour, adapted from Marguerite Duras. It is film has that made history: a story pared down to the bone, superb editing and beautiful black and white photography from Sacha Vierny, who would go on to be cinematographer on many Resnais films (and who would with Peter Greenaway from the mid-eighties). Starring Emanuelle Riva and Japanese Eiji Okuda, it is a completely original love story set against the background of the Second World War and the Hiroshima bomb. It won the French critics' Méliès Award. Two years later he won Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for the experimental Last Year at Marienbad. Performed by Giorgio Albertazzi and Deplphine Seyrig, the film bore the unmistakable stamp of the writer – and later director – Alain Robbe-Grillet. The film is freely adapted from The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Casares (Emidio Greco made a film based on the novel in 1974). The public did not take to the film, so for his next effort Resnais went back to a love story with Delphine Seyrig (who won the Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival). Muriel, or the Time of a Return was an apparently more linear narrative but remained in French theatres for only two weeks in 1963. He ended the sixties with The War is Over (starring Yves Montand, Ingrid Thulin, Geneveieve Bujold and Michel Piccoli) and Je t'aime Je t'aime with Claude Rich. In 1974 he hit gold again with Stavinsky, interpreted by a stellar Jean-Paul Belmondo. Although snubbed by the critics, who condemned it as mediocre at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival, the film was seen by more than a million spectators in France and was to be re-evaluated in later years. The French critics were unanimously enthusiastic about Providence, an English language Resnais film that won seven Césars. John Gielgud won the Best Actor Award from the New York Film Critics Circle. However, the film never had an Italian DVD release as did his next work My American Uncle with Gerard Depardieu in 1980. The eighties continued with three films starring his two muses, Fanny Ardant and Sabine Azema: Life is a Bed of Roses, Love unto Death and Mélo. Italy's own Vittorio Gassman appeared in the first of these. Mélo (1986) particularly marked the transition to the sophisticated comedy that would be the predominant style of the later Alain Resnais. I Want to Go Home is a Feydeauesque comedy that won acclaim at Venice in 1989, and Smoking/No Smoking from 1993 is two-part film with the same character and the same starting premise but with two different story developments. Same Old Song heralded songs in his films, a bit similar to Jacques Demy and Paul Vecchiali, only that the songs here were already known and not written specifically for the film. The following release, Not on the Lips, also used a compilation of songs as a premise for a frothy, upbeat comedy. Wild Grass won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, while Resnais' last two films, You Ain't Seen Nuthin' Yet from 2012 and Life of Riley from 2014 (presented at the Berlinale) are still unreleased in Italy. Alain Resnais died in hospital in Paris on 1 March 2014 at the age of ninety-one, after a short illness.