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Alain Resnais: Last Year in Marienbad at Close-Up Film Centre

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Time 20:15
Date 18/09/21
Price £12

This avant-garde masterpiece is set in an ornate baroque hotel, populated by wealthy couples who socialise with each other. Their past a mystery, the present, more so. What next?

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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