Last Year in Marienbad – Alain Resnais (1961)


L’Année dernière à Marienbad (released in the US as Last Year at Marienbad and in the UK as Last Year in Marienbad) is a 1961 French-Italian Left Bank film directed by Alain Resnais from a screenplay by Alain Robbe-Grillet. Set in a palace in a park that has been converted into a luxury hotel, it stars Delphine Seyrig and Giorgio Albertazzi as a woman and a man who may have met the year before and may have contemplated or started an affair, with Sacha Pitoëff as a second man who may be the woman’s husband. The characters are unnamed. The film is famous for its enigmatic narrative structure, in which time and space are fluid, with no certainty over what is happening to the characters, what they are remembering, and what they are imagining. Its dreamlike nature has both fascinated and baffled viewers; many have hailed the work as a masterpiece, although others have found it incomprehensible. … Robbe-Grillet wrote a screenplay which was very detailed, specifying not only the décor and gestures but also the placement and movement of the camera and the sequencing of shots in the editing. Resnais filmed the script with great fidelity, making only limited alterations which seemed necessary. Robbe-Grillet was not present during the filming. When he saw the rough-cut, he said that he found the film just as he had intended it, while recognising how much Resnais had added to make it work on the screen and to fill out what was absent from the script. Robbe-Grillet then published his screenplay, illustrated by shots from the film, as a ‘ciné-roman’ (ciné-novel). Despite the close correspondence between the written and filmed works, numerous differences between them have been identified. Two notable examples are the choice of music in the film (Francis Seyrig’s score introduces extensive use of a solo organ), and a scene near the end of the film in which the screenplay explicitly describes a rape, whereas the film substitutes a series of repeated bleached-out travelling shots moving towards the woman.[4] In subsequent statements by the two authors of the film, it was partly acknowledged that they did not entirely share the same vision of it. Filming took place over a period of ten weeks between September and November 1960. …”
Wikipedia
W – Alain Resnais
W – Alain Robbe-Grillet
Guardian – Last Year in Marienbad: return to the ice palace
Roger Ebert
YouTube: Alain Resnais (Trailer) | BFI, Last Year in Marienbad

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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