HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
Pebble and the Boy, The
Mosquito State
   
 
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Last Year at Marienbad Memories Are Made Of This
Year: 1961
Director: Alain Resnais
Stars: Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, Sacha Pitoëff, Françoise Bertin, Luce Garcia-Ville, Héléna Kornel, Françoise Spira, Karin Toche-Mittler, Pierre Barbaud, Wilhelm von Deek, Jean Lanier, Gérard Lorin, Davide Montemuri, Gilles Quéant, Gabriel Werner
Genre: WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  9 (from 2 votes)
Review: A man's voice is heard intoning dialogue about this country mansion which he repeats over and over: about the corridors, the baroque decoration, the thick carpets which swallow sound, and so on. There are people here, such as the servants who stand silently awaiting to be called, and as we travel past the rooms towards the sound of the man's voice we see guests have arrived and are staring in rapt attention, almost in a daze, at something. Make that someone: two people stand on the stage of the mansion's small theatre, the man who is speaking and the woman who is listening; he finishes and the audience erupt in applause.

It's safe to say Last Year at Marienbad didn't get quite the same reaction from everyone who watched it, indeed it turned out to be one of the most divisive films ever made, with a cult who loved its gamesplaying and sleek, black and white appearance while many others became actively angry with the work and its refusal to explain itself over the course of ninety minutes or so. It belonged to the spirit of revolution in classical music of the era, where repetition and dischord were as important as melody, if not more so: never mind the content, feel the form and structure, though we had to look to the screenwriter Alain Robbe-Grillet to see the roots of his style were literary.

He had made a name for himself penning impenetrable, deliberately complex and confusing novels, part of an avant-garde movement in writing of the nineteen-fifties, so when a meeting was arranged with director Alain Resnais whose Hiroshima Mon Amour had made waves around the cinema world, it was a marriage made in experimental film heaven. Or hell, as some would have it, though in a way you could interpret the characters as having gone through some kind of temporal trauma to end up in a deathly limbo where time has lost all meaning and there is no escape. You could see the influence of this in many places from Patrick McGoohan's classic television series The Prisoner to Stanley Kubrick's equally tricksy The Shining, but this remained very much one of a kind otherwise.

The plot, such as it was, concerned a woman known only as A (Delphine Seyrig in her breakthrough role) basically being pestered by a man known only as X (Giorgio Albertazzi) who is intent on getting her to remember the last time they met, except she doesn't believe they have ever encountered one another before. He spends the rest of the movie trying to persuade her they actually were having a deeply meaningful love affair, yet she resists, and her mind begins to crack under the pressure, or at least that appears to be what is happening. The typical Resnais obsession with memory and the way we return to the past in our mind not so much to recall happy times but more like a tongue worrying at a loose tooth was well to the fore, and the detractors would tell you the results were screamingly boring, and oh how they liked to belabour this opinion.

However, maybe Kubrick had something in allowing Last Year at Marienbad to influence his chiller, for there was something about the language of horror movies here. That fear of losing your mind, of not being in control, even of psychological violence could be seen in the manner in which A is worn down: she never gives in but maybe she doesn't need to as everything around her has her trapped in what from many angles looks like a nightmare, not least the dreamlike atmosphere and methods. At points the film erupts in gushes of panicky emotion as Frances Seyrig's music, all too aptly sounding as if the Phantom of the Opera is playing his pipe organ just out of shot, rises to a frightening crescendo, and A is even shot by her husband (Sacha Pitoëff) in one scene before X decides that's not the way he wants to recall her because it doesn't fit the narrative in his mind. All the way through the side characters play an impenetrable game as if to echo the filmmakers' devices, and you may not understand this, but its eerie, sinister, even alarming quality was (ironically) hard to forget, love or hate its grasp on your subconscious.

Aka: L'année dernière à Marienbad
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2284 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: