I really admired Resnais' "Hiroshima Mon Amour," unfortunately I was a lot less present for this film than the other. I will definitely need to rewatch and re-evaluate "Last Year at Marienbad." I see how influential the sureal dialogue, sinister music, and dream logic was to directors like Lynch. I can't pretend to interpret this film in any meaningful way. Is it about rape? Lost love? Or just a perfume commercial?
The greatest art film of all time. A film about obsession and how that obsession can twist our memories. About how memories like ghosts can haunt us. A film about fate and inevitably and how one can escape neither. A huge influence on every art film that came after including my own.
A film that exudes love, loss and horror in starts, fits and stops. It has a singular cadence: authentic, perhaps primal, but completely assured. There is inspiration in its toying with editing and narrative conventions, i.e., voices repeating anachronisms down dark and vacant halls. It's meaning matters only to the viewer, resembling memory. And that's a place to start.
I enjoyed and was intrigued by the play and contruction of plot/image/sound design, and I found the words/dubbing/silly male perspective highly tedious/tiresome. (I am so tired of pretentious French auteurs.) Incredible lighting and ranges of tonality in the film. I don’t care for The Shining, but its existence made the tedious parts of this more bearable. This was surely a huge influence on Twin Peaks: The Return.
Well that was something else entirely! I was intrigued by the trailer and description, and I can definitely see the influence on later films. It really is a labyrinth, can be interpreted in many ways, and dreamy as can be. I didn't love it, but I couldn't look away. That means maybe I did love it........or do I?
Potently poetic, nightmarishly fluid. A noticeable blueprint for Kubrick's The Shining, its gleefully repetitive nature is also a precursor to David Lynch. (Sacha Pitoëff a retroactive ringer for Twin Peak's Carel Struycken.) An unnerving score. A surreally bleak purgatory of glamorous souls. Impossible movement. It ends quietly in the night. Alain Resnais is a visionary réalisateur!
The two Alains fashion an enigma "heavily laden with a decor from the past" in a series of tableaux vivants of elegant phantoms. Robbe-Grillet insures that the center of the story - the past - is an absence. Resnais suffuses the drama with "the horror of forgetting" as in Hiroshima Mon Amour. Tentatively a smashed wine glass, a crumbling balustrade threaten the genteel artifice of frozen fountains.
Despite the great display of opulence, it felt very dismal and empty. Also, I wasn't sure why the film music had an augmented sound (usually for thriller & horror films). I wasn't getting so much of the mystery and/or avant-garde vibe either. Films such as this one requires a 2nd viewing. I don't think I fully grasp what this was about. However, it was an enigmatic piece of art, an aesthetic.
"The characters may be ghosts with feelings" commented the A.D about this film. Did they meet? Where did they meet? Are we in a dream? Who is dreaming? Time, space and memory. Resnais inspired a generation with this film, inspiring Kubrick, Lynch, Nolan, and plenty of other filmmakers.
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?