Saturday Matinee Classics
Last Year at Marienbad
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As ominous organ music resounds, the Scope camera tracks through the seemingly endless halls of a baroque grand hotel, as X (Giorgio Albertazzi) tries to persuade an initially disbelieving A (Delphine Seyrig, in gowns by Coco Chanel) that they’d met the year before, even as the sepulchral M (Sacha Pitoëff) hovers about. But as X continues to repeat “Last year…,” each encounter takes place in different locations, in different costumes, the alterations not just coming from scene to scene but from shot to shot, amid actually mounting suspense, until the question becomes not only did it happen, but was it seduction or…? With an Oscar-nominated screenplay by nouveau roman titan Alain Robbe-Grillet and sumptuous black-and-white photography by Sacha Vierny, Last Year at Marienbad is perhaps the ultimate puzzle film, with dizzying time shifts and flashbacks, real or imagined.
France | Italy, 1961, 94 minutes, In French with English Subtitles, Not Rated, Directed by Alain Resnais