Not just a defining work of the French New Wave but one of the great, lasting mysteries of modern art, Alain Resnais’ epochal visual poem has been puzzling appreciative viewers for decades. A surreal fever dream, or perhaps a nightmare, Last Year at Marienbad (L’année dernière à Marienbad), written by the radical master of the New Novel, Alain Robbe-Grillet, gorgeously fuses the past with the present in telling its ambiguous tale of a man and a woman (Giorgio Albertazzi and Delphine Seyrig) who may or may not have met a year ago, perhaps at the very same cathedral-like, mirror-bedecked château they now find themselves wandering. Unforgettable in both its confounding details (gilded ceilings, diabolical parlor games, a loaded gun) and haunting scope, Resnais’ investigation into the nature of memory is disturbing, romantic, and maybe even a ghost story. —The Criterion Collection
While a seminal figure of the French New Wave, Alain Resnais was not, like so many of his contemporaries, an alumnus of the film journal Cahiers du Cinema. In fact, he existed well outside of the sphere of filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, and Jacques Rivette, with a dedication to formalism, modernist concerns, and social and political issues not found in the work of his fellow innovators. Focusing repeatedly on themes of time and memory, Resnais drew from the well of serious literature to offer a singular philosophical and artistic vantage point, employing enigmatic narrative structures, lush cinematography, and lyrical editing patterns to create some of the most provocative and controversial work of the period. Born June 3, 1922, in Vannes, France, Resnais began making his first 8 mm films at the age of 14. In 1943 he enrolled at the newly formed Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographie, leaving the following year after declaring his studies too theoretical. He… read more
Baroque defined; also, modernism, couture, ethereality - the definitive floating camera. Beyond the glittering façade and precision editing: Marienbad as limbo for the bourgeois’ eternal languish, without recourse from the suffocating opulence or unfulfilled yearnings. Intensified by its fragmented, weightless procession; cryptically caught between garish recollection and lurid diegesis. In its own unique consciousness, emotionally stunted - without the unleashed passion of Hiroshima, mon amour - but stylistically groundbreaking, and for that: striking detachment.
Featuring an interview with Ai Weiwei and more. Also: The Gold Rush and Last Year at Marienbad in New York.
The cult director of Two-Lane Blacktop returns with his first feature in twenty years.
"So much critical ink has been shed over Last Year at Marienbad that one might wonder if the flood of commentary, once receded, would take
A year or so ago, while writing about the brilliant poster for Alain Resnais’s most recent film, Wild Grass, I was a little disparaging of
Connecting Last Year in Marienbad to Rivette’s Le Pont du Nord, a new 35mm print of which is now touring the US.
"'After the cinema, nothing surprises you. Everything is possible.' So says the lovesick obsessive Georges Palet in a scene from Wild Grass
Above: Jean-Luc Godard's Made in USA, which taught Michael Bay. Will You Join Our Crusade: I know you generally need three examples if you
Certain shots linger in the mind for reasons that are unquantifiable, unexplainable. For some reason this image of a casino at dusk, repeated
This is one of those films that makes me wish I had a time machine, so I could go back to 1961 and experience for myself how truly revolutionary it was then. Marienbad has been copied many… read review
It’s like a picture made up of several pictures that make sense individually but together form some sort of distorted, almost surrealistic image. Whatever this was about I don’t really care, its visual… read review
I’ve sat around all evening and into the night trying to come up with an intelligent and coherent reflection for LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, but all I’ve ended up doing is sitting at a blank computer screen… read review