Very occasionally, a film will come along which defies expectations and logic. A film which plays with the very texture of film and storytelling to create something which is simultaneously ambiguous, perplexing and profound. Between 1959 and 1963 Alain Resnais made three films which all dealt with fragmented memories and clouded history. Whilst both Hiroshima Mon Amour and Muriel are great works of French cinema, Last Year in Marienbad has a poetic and elegant beauty which never quite leaves you.
The corridors of an ornate and luxurious hotel are populated by wealthy couples. A man (Giorgio Albertazzi) and a woman (Delphine Seyrig) are deep in conversation. He claims they met a year ago at Marienbad and wants to rekindle their relationship. For her part, she denies all knowledge of this rendezvous. As they drift around the house and gardens their paths collide, present and past merge and contort whilst a second man (Sacha Pitoëff), who may or may not be her husband, repeatedly comes between them.
Last Year in Marienbad remains a dazzling, spellbinding and iconic work of 1960s cinema. The circumstances are unclear and these blurred lines make it an abstruse and beautiful piece of abstract storytelling. Sticking faithfully to Alain Robbe-Grillet’s screenplay, Resnais teases the past and present; creating a collage of dreams, remembrances, fantasy and illusion. This slight of hand leaves the events of Last Year in Marienbad to the imagination of its audience.
- New: ‘RESNAIS and ROBBE-GRILLET – The wanderers of imagination’
- Interview with Film Historian Ginette Vincendeau
- 2 short films by Alain Resnais: ‘THE STYRENE’S SONG’ and ‘ALL THE MEMORY OF THE WORLD’
- ‘In the Labyrinth of Marienbad’
- Restored Trailer
- BD only: Documentary on Alain Robbe-Grillet
Last Year in Marienbad is released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital by Studiocanal on 17 September.