The Grey Dress in New York: Private Longings for Love and Desire

The Grey Dress in New York: Private Longings for Love and Desire

The Grey Dress in New York is an intriguing, captivating short experimental art film by Pierre St-Jacques, which has been screened at art and film festivals around the world. The film is loosely based on Alain Robbe-Grillet’s novel Project for a Revolution in New York.  Robbe-Grillet’s novel (as well as many of his films) exploits pornographic motifs and the imagery of potential sexual violence.  The Grey Dress in New York focuses on short moments of longing for love and and the need to desire.  A woman in her apartment is getting ready to go out, she is ironing her grey dress.  A man comes up the stairs, presumably to meet her, but this is not certain. The style is similar to that in Robbe-Grillet’s book, one of elipses and repeating patterns, and because of those structures we are never quite certain what the intentions of the characters are.

The central theme of The Grey Dress in New York is one of longings for desire.  Desire for the other and also for the self; each character is very self possessed and in many ways very full of flourish. The film is ultimately a test of desire for the viewer, who sees the story evolve and builds certain expectations that are as much a part of the story as is the main narrative thread. The surreal film The Grey Dress in New York is presented below, as well as the trailer for Alain Robbe-Grillet’s darkly dreamlike film, Last Year at Marienbad (1961).

The Grey Dress in New York: Private Longings for Love and Desire

Alain Robbe-Grillet: Last Year at Marienbad (1961) Trailer

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