Formal rigor is often interpreted by contemporary filmmakers as lifeless formulations, aesthetic constraint & generic considerations on the state of mankind. Resnais is the best antidote to this: Marienbad's rigor is explosive, dream-like; the film pulses with the life of memories.
Each will form their unique conclusion or non-conclusion. A man tries to justify a sexual assault by creating false memories and imposes them on to the victim, and a woman who is trying to escape the horror of what happened through dazed denial. One constructs, the other obliterates. Both parties eternally waltz back and forth between fiction and forgetting, carefully avoiding the truth which neither one can bear.
Its triumph is that it exists at all. Willfully oblivious to an audience's needs and making this aggression gorgeous, its story seems to be taking place outside of time. In Kafka's THE CASTLE we spend our entire time in the village below, never reaching our destination above. Is this what remained unseen? The most original and perplexing depiction of Hell? Or have we, in fact, entered the Palace of Vampires?
Robbe-Grillet gave the game away, without ruining the film at all, when he said it's all about persuasion. Indeed, it traces a man's obsessive, passionate urge to *will* a reality into existence for him and his desired. What keeps it going, aside from the sensory hypnosis, is the living uncertainty the actors bring to the love triangle—whether Delphine escapes from the cold labyrinth, or swaps one master for another.
While from a visual perspective it's one of the greatest achievements in black and white composition I've seen of it's genre, there were long stretches of the narrative that bored me. Be it by reason of the purpose-elusive narrative or the incessant flowery dialogue that constructs said narrative, "Last Year at Marienbad" will be one of those French New Wave films that I forget quickly.
This film is first and foremost a string of evocations about the state of and nature of memory and time, and the manner by which time and distance torture and rob emotion. That it prioritizes this above conflict for most of its run is, I'd say, its biggest issue, as well as its occasional lapses into being emotionally alien. But if you're really hungry for visual elucidations about time and memory, check this out.
84/100 (Muhteşem bir film, tam bir klas. Baudelaire'in bohem eserlerine tanık olduk adeta. Böyle şiirsel bir anlatımı en son L'atalante de görmüştüm. Ancak Marienbad'ın ondan kat ve kat daha kaliteli olduğu bir gerçek. Sonsuzluk hissi veren barok saray, gizemli heykeller, otoriter kumar bağımlısı bir koca ve burjuvaziden bunaltan sohbetler... Ah birde film tekrara düşmese şu an Persona ile aynı klasmanda idi.Yazık..)
Resnais à la réalisation et Robbe-Grillet aux dialogues, on peut rarement faire mieux. D'ailleurs le résultat est génial : grâce à l'abandon de la continuité narrative et temporelle, on pénètre dans un univers esthétique et onirique. Il y a tout un travail dingue de montage avec des ruptures son/image, des phénomènes de strombinoscope.
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.