Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Last Year in Marienbad – The eroticism of the Baroque

Alain Resnais' Last Year in Marienbad, a celebration of the eroticism of not only the Baroque, but also of the baroque. An homage to uncertainty in an age where we demand and worship absolute certainty and closure (that awful word) not only from our cinema - how boring, but also in our lives and in the public realm.

An absolutely masterly cinematography, a camera that loves to caress with its lens the exuberance of this dismal baroque hotel where the film is set, while its microphone loves the narrator's words as he describes it, a man who built a story around a woman whom he claims he met the previous year at Marienbad, in that hotel, a story which may be true, or not. A woman character which may be real, or the product of a febrile imagination – the narrator's voice gets more and more feverish as the film progresses. A narrative time that may be true, or itself being an imaginary time, as past and present merges. Where is the one? Or the other? Or are they set in a completely different time, as the mere existence of the narration hints?

A mysterious woman, a shady character, with cold and implacable eyes, setting games to his fellow guests, games that he always win, as Resnais does with his film. But does he? Or Resnais?

Last Year in Marienbad, first released in 1961, has been lauded as one of the cinematic classic masterpieces of all times. I watched it again, leisurely, last night, I have to say that it still felt as fresh and intriguing when I first saw it as a young man in the 60s.

I am not going to write any more about it, as many words have already been spent analysing and over-analysing it in uncountable books, magazines and Film Studies courses, over the years.

I will just say: Just go, lay back, and enjoy it. A very rewarding experience.

Those images! That camera! Those gardens!


Last Year in Marienbad will be released in Britain on Friday 8th July 2011 by the BFI, on the same day that, by a happy coincidence, that Jean-Luc Godard's “Film Socialisme” is.

Directed by Alain Resnais
Cast: Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, Sacha Pitoëff
France-Italy 1961 | 94 mins | Cert U

For exhibiting cinemas click here. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment on issues relating to cinema or the specific post theme. All comments are moderated. All other comments will be rejected, particularly those marketing other sites or blogs.