DVD Last Year at Marienbad (DVD 4659580),
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Last Year at Marienbad

  • NR
  • DVD
  • 2 discs
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • In Alain Resnais's masterwork, L'ANNEE DERNIRE MARIENBAD, each fantasy-laden, heavily dramatized, aesthetically perfect scene is dictated by the memories of a man (Giorgio Albertazzi), who is one of many elegant, aristocratic guests vacationing at the enchanting resort, Marienbad. Because the story consists of foggy memories that may or may not be accurate, the film unrolls like a repetitious dream. In the opening sequences, the man describes the immensity and silence of the lavishly decorated baroque hotel as the camera roams its empty hallways. Soon after, the hotel guests appear, assembled for a theater production inside the hotel. Like the actors in the play, the characters in the film make it obvious that they are also playing established roles and reciting lines. Sometimes they simply pose as the camera passes over them, while at other times, they stand like statues, trying to remember what happened last year. They amuse themselves with parlor games, ballroom waltzes, target practice in the shooting gallery, and strolls through the garden. Meanwhile, the man establishes the abstract plot about a love affair he began last year with a woman (Delphine Seyrig), reconstructed from his partial memories. She remembers nothing of the affair, not even the man's name. In fact, most of the guests cannot even recall the year in which these things might have happened--was it 1928 or 29? Each of Resnais's sets is more remarkable than the one before, as are the costumes by Chanel. Emphatic organ music drums up a fury of suspense as the actors's performances become increasingly overdramatized and unnatural, mocking the meaningless aristocratic resort activity they're depicting, while also epitomizing it. The climax comes in a famous sequence--which repeats itself about 10 times in a row--in which the camera races down the corridor into the embrace of the woman, who is clad in a birdlike white feather gown. Like a Marguerite Duras poem trapped inside an M.C. Escher drawing, Resnais's L'ANNEE DERNIRE MARIENBAD is a film that stands alone, unique in its dialogue, architecture, style, and its deeply effective, sweeping mood.
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): CC1815

  • Credits
    Delphine Seyrig
  • Critic Reviews
    "LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD remains one of cinema's glorious enigmas, endlessly compelling and intriguing. It is a beautiful film..."
    Los Angeles Times

    "French New Wave director Alain Resnais helped semi-popularize the notion of formalism as an end in itself with the 1961 arthouse sensation LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD..."
    A.V. Club

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