Petulia ★★★★★

On trying to feel something in a commoditized world. What is the place for human connection when even freedom is just a stylistic choice? Gestures move from play acting to painful longing. Memories and (un)possibilities of future dissolve into each other. Piece by piece the possibilities of drama strengthens despite its world in flux. Places can be sterile on one shot and contain a world of sadness in the next. Richard Lester fragmentary style might be very indebt to Resnais (for all the beauties of Two for the Road this remains the masterpiece of the late 60’s Hollywood goes New Wave moment), but the film seems to point to late Resnais as much as applies his earlier stylistic tics. All three leads do career best work. This is a film of total desolation but somehow a slight of romantic hope remains: one can always leave with a last impact on each other.