Alain Resnais: Five Short Films

Directed by Alain Resnais

80 minutes / Color/B&W
French / English subtitles
Release: 2022
Copyright: 2020

Icarus Films is proud to present five newly restored early short film masterpieces from legendary filmmaker Alain Resnais (1922-2014). Resnais would go on to make his mark in feature films, including the Oscar-nominated Hiroshima Mon Amour, but these early-career shorts demonstrate an already keenly developed eye. The films are a remarkable compendium of the stylistic elements found in his features, and represent an important contribution to the distinguished French documentary tradition.

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PAUL GAUGUIN uses the artist’s own writings and artwork to trace his creative journey. The film begins with Gauguin losing his job in finance—the catalyst for his commitment to paint every day—and continues through to his final days in Tahiti.


Winner of the 1950 Academy Awards Best Short Film, this boundary-pushing short brilliantly evokes the life of Vincent Van Gogh, using only his paintings as visuals.


GUERNICA, about the city’s horrifying bombing during the Spanish Civil War, features Picasso’s paintings, drawings and sculptures. Co-directed with Robert Hessens.


ALL THE WORLD’S MEMORY pays homage to the National Library of France and takes us on an impressive and impressionistic tour. It received the Best Picture Award at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival.


Alain Resnais carries out a poetic investigation into the origins of plastic. It is the perfect example of how to turn a commissioned industrial film into a lyrical, satirical film masterpiece.

“If short films didn’t exist, Alain Resnais would have surely invented them.” —Jean-Luc Godard, Cahiers du Cinéma n.92, February 1959

“Alain Resnais has created some of the most important and indelible films of the postwar era.” —Harvard Film Archive

“His early work in documentaries obviously encouraged Resnais to concentrate on perfecting the details of his craft, to concentrate, that is, on the more intellectual, the more abstract aspects of filmmaking.” —Film Comment

"Quite exceptional, and the collection as a whole offers a number of artistic rewards.” —Douglas Pratt, The DVD-Laser Disc Newsletter

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An exploration of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

Alain Resnais | 1956 | 21 minutes | French | English subtitles

Uses the famous painting by Picasso to bear witness to the atrocities of the Spanish civil war and fascism.

Alain Resnais and Robert Hessens | 2021 | 14 minutes | French | English subtitles

Paul Gauguin's life, from Brittany to Tahiti, is illustrated by his paintings and extracts from his diary.

Alain Resnais | 2021 | 13 minutes | French | English subtitles

With text by Raymond Queneau and music by Pierre Barbaud, THE SONG OF STYRENE is a beautiful, surrealist film.

Alain Resnais | 1957 | 13 minutes | Color | French | English subtitles

The film charts the life and spiritual odyssey of one of the great modern painters purely through use of his paintings.

Alain Resnais | 1948 | 18 minutes | French | English subtitles