Trans Europ Express

Trans Europ Express
Director: Alain Robbe Grillet

France, Belgium, 1966, 95 min., thriller
Trans Europ Express is a crime drama set aboard a Paris train bound for Antwerp. On board the train are a husband and wife. Also on the train is a gangster, but in a different time and space. The husband and wife are planning to make a film, Trans Europ Express, featuring an actor who looks exactly like the gangster. This film is nicely disturbing, including one famous S&M (sadomasochistic) sex scene that resulted in the film being banned in the UK. In Trans Europ Express Alain Robbe-Grillet repeats scenes but in different times, slightly changing concepts; and dissolving time and space in the film without losing the audience’s attention.

Alain Robbe-Grillet was one of the authors that created the literary movement “Nouveau Roman” in France, which diverged from classical literary genres. Robbe-Grillet is also mentioned among the French Nouvelle Vague director. This is something he didn’t like. In film theory, Robbe-Grillet made a distinction between three different kinds of films; “cinéma narratif”, “cinéma non narratif” and “cinéma dysnarratif”. The first kind is film that tells a story, and is also a commercial film. The second kind has no story, and is experimental in its form, like the 1960s underground films in the USA. The third one tells a story, but in a discontinued, complex and bothersome way. Trans Europ Express is a clear example of a film in the “cinéma dysnarratif” style. This is a rare opportunity to see a groundbreaking French film, set on a train. Kaunas International Film Festival likes this combination.
Section: Train time

Screenplay: Alain Robbe Grillet

Dir. of Photography: Willy Kurant

Cast: Jean Lois Trinignant, Marie France Pisier, Alain Robbe Grillet, Nadine Verdier, Charles Millot, Catherine Robbe Grillet, Daniel Emilfork