Over at the Guardian's film blog:
The French director Alain Resnais, who had presented his most recent film The Life of Riley only last month at the Berlin film festival, was part of that remarkable New Wave generation and their associates which set the movie world on fire after the war: not merely film-makers but experimentalists, dazzling theoreticians, maîtres à penser, artists whose work proffered a critique ahead of any of the reviewers and writers who crowded excitably into the cinema to see their latest movies.
His films Night and Fog (1955), Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) and the sensational Last Year in Marienbad (1961) made him one of the key figures in European cinema. Like many of this group, Resnais made an explosive start and carried on working into extreme old age, though perhaps his later work could not match the scintillation of that golden period of the late 50s and 60s.
He was fascinated not merely in the possibilities of cinema but in theatre and theatricality — and the theatrical dimension of reality. In fact, he was notable as a French cultural star who took an interest in something British: he frequently adapted the plays of Alan Ayckbourn, in whom he savoured a surreality of bourgeois form; he brought out the delicious Magrittean absurdity.