Friday, November 19, 2010

L'Année Dernière à Marienbad (1961) by Alain Resnais

I think half the fun of Alain Resnais 'Last year in Marienbad' is trying to decide what the hell the whole thing was about afterwards. It ostensibly tells the tale of a man who is convinced that a woman staying at the same hotel as him is his lover from a year past, yet she does not recall ever meeting him. The film is wonderfully shot, employing an ethereal, dream-like quality throughout, while the inhabitants of the hotel at Marienbad drift by, almost as if in a trance. The viewer enters and leaves the film knowing only that a man believes he had an affair with a woman, and that she denies it. Nothing more. Filled with sparse and ambivalent dialogue that confounds the characters and viewers in equal measure, L'Année Dernière à Marienbad is a beautiful and entirely ambiguous film. Intentionally bizarre, expertly shot, brilliantly edited, wonderfully arty, oh-so-very French and perfect on every cinematic level. Not for everyone, for sure, but undoubtedly and undeniably a classic.

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