A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
In a huge, old-fashioned luxury hotel a stranger tries to persuade a married woman to run away with him, but it seems she hardly remembers the affair they may have had (or not?) last year at Marienbad.Written by
Otto Oberhauser <Oberhauser@cc.univie.ac.at>
Exterior night scenes were shot day-for-night, but the sky and reflections of it were allowed in the frame, and they appear as bright white instead of black. This may have been intentional to emphasize the surreality of the film. See more »
[X wanders through the hotel's corridors cataloging items he sees]
Empty salons. Corridors. Salons. Doors. Doors. Salons. Empty chairs, deep armchairs, thick carpets. Heavy hangings. Stairs, steps. Steps, one after the other. Glass objects, objects still intact, empty glasses. A glass that falls, three, two, one, zero. Glass partition, letters.
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The title of Dali's best known work is an apt description of this film. A man meets a woman at a European spa and tries to convince her (and himself) that they met one year ago. While the plot is simple, its presentation is not. I first saw L'annee derniere a Marienbad while taking a French Film class in college. Of the dozen or so films we watched, Marienbad has stayed with me the longest. The nameless protagonist's memories repeat, sometimes minutely changed, sometimes not. The same organ motifs echo again and again, all against the backdrop of elegant hallways and sitting rooms. Through all this, the man attempts to spirit the woman away from her husband/companion, while at the same time establish once and for all what happened last year and what did not. More than any other film, Marienbad has shown me the difference between American film conventions and what else is possible. While so many American releases are rigidly plot driven, Marienbad uses film as a tool for exploration and introspection. Instead of linear story telling, director Resnais allows his characters to explore the details of what may be memory or just imagination. Against a detached, almost stoical background of extras and cool interiors, Delphin Seyrig and Giorgio Albertazzi display a sharp contrast of passion, pleading, and denial. I agree with a previous reviewer that much of the look of Marienbad has been appropriated by commercials for perfume; however, if you haven't seen this film before, you most likely have never seen anything quite so surreal.
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