Close Up

2 - 14 January 2020: Last Year in Marienbad

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Last Year In Marienbad
Alain Resnais, 1961, 94 min
French with English subtitles

“Once again I walk, once again, along these corridors, across these salons, these galleries, in this edifice from another century, this huge, luxurious, baroque hotel . . .” The incantatory voice-over narration could be the voice of Sacha Vierny’s camera as it travels through time, past the statues and statuesque beings-in-time – the characters – in this masterpiece of mise-en-scène. Some critics interpreted Marienbad’s labyrinthine gardens as a dreamscape, others as a landscape of the mind that rejects cause and effect. Still, why not take it at face value? A man attempts to convince a woman (Delphine Seyrig) that, a year ago, they met and fell in love at a European spa, perhaps Marienbad where they are now. The seamless integration of past and present is central to Alain Resnais’s films, but, as author-screenwriter Alain Robbe-Grillet said, “The image is always in the present tense.” – Judy Bloch


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