With a screenplay by Alain Robbe-Grillet, this haunting, seminal work of the French New Wave is a dreamlike mosaic taking place at an unusual luxury hotel where a man tries to remind a married woman of the affair they may or may not have had a year prior.
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re-watch after years, 16mm. So much colder than I remembered; to steep in such brisk memories of an affair, skewed by smoke and mirrors and subject Borges (via a most acerbic lens), and left feeling nothing; an exercise in monotony, an observation of the bourgeois exercising (filmmaker included), equating to tedious absence of anything human. And lest not forget Adolfo Bioy Casares.
the remarkable editing. the crowds and that game. the ambiguous relationship between the man and the woman. the location especially the garden, these are some unforgetable things in this film with brilliant direction, and oh yes that creepy experience when the woman with swan-like clothes trying to hug you more than once in the last 20 minutes.
Exquisite compositions and formal symmetry replete the film with a great sense of wonder, intrigue, and a sense of life within life, repetition with variation, the magnificence of emptiness or the emptiness of magnificence.
The black-and-white format parallels the plot's grey areas, and the fantastic editing creates a dream-like narrative. I'm one to believe we are viewing snippets of the man's memory, and the editing depicts his refusal to acknowledge the truth. Last Year at Marienbad is a French New Wave classic.
The dialogue, I mean hell, the whole narrative wore me out completely after the first hour, the film is so obsessive in its enclosed, adroitly delimited construction it's practically a vicious circle under the guise of a perfectly photographed romance/ghost(??) movie, and I'm 99% sure it will cause quite an impact on you.
Can't say I loved it, but goddamn it was really unlike anything I'd ever seen before. Very surreal and beautifully shot, despite perhaps one or two moments it also kept me interested the entire time. 4/5
It's very simple: the man and woman were in a relationship, and they were not. They were at Marienbad, and they weren't. Their relationship went bad, and it didn't. Everything is just what it is, and all anyone can do is experience it.
Anyone who says cinema can't be called a separate art, or considers cinema as filmed theater must watch this film to see what "cinema" can achieve that's totally exclusive to its possibilities. The Last Year at Marienbad is a dreamy and hypnotic take on human memory and the nature of time.