Sunday, January 30, 2011

Last Year in Marienbad

L'année dernière à Marienbad (Last Year in Marienbad), 1961
Dir: Alain Resnais

After watching this all the way through while trying take it seriously, I must admit that I failed miserably. It's not that this film made me angry (though it pushed my limits a lot), it's just that nothing in this film captivated me in any way. For a movie that is only about two people being in love, you can't really care can you? The only interaction between them is just "remembering" and frankly it's either way over my head or its main points are driving at things I could care less about.

So there's this guy (Giorgio Albertazzi), and he's 100% positive that he met and fell in love with a woman (Delphine Seyrig) at some chateau the year before (possibly not the one they meet at again in the film, or is that a memory as well?). The woman is 100% sure that the dude is a creep and a stalker who has never met her, until she isn't (or is that even her?) Her (possible) husband (Sacha Pitoëff) is semi-interested in her well-being, but mostly likes to house people in Nim (which is probably some grand gesture about memory and dreams).

In Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) we actually get interaction and, at the very least, we begin to understand the characters and their motivations. Here, we don't and because of this there is absolutely no room to care. If you want to say that anything is truly frustrating about this, it's that Resnais nails the mood and look of a film that should be interesting, but breaks it apart so that it isn't. Maybe I just get really turned off by metafiction (which granted works a lot better in film than literature, but still...). I wouldn't be surprised if some interpretations led to some grand realization about life. It is a puzzle I guess, and Resnais deliberately only gives us some of the pieces. The film has all of the answers or it has none of them (look at the photo below: the people have shadows but the trees don't), but either way, it's just not a film for me.

1 comment:

Bufovalentin said...

just watched it the other day and I must say, unfortunately, that I agree. While it was absolutely stunning to look at I just wasn't interested in the characters. I suppose the film is meant to be a puzzle but what's the point in solving it when you don't care about the answer. Similarly to Hiroshima mon amour I found the "meaningful" and poetic voiceover quite frustrating. To be honest I think I would have liked the film more had I watched it with the sound off as it is undeniably mesmerizing in its visual design.