Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
Last Year at Marienbad
In a sprawling baroque hotel, a man tries to persuade a married woman to leave her husband and run away with him. He reminds her of her promise when they met a year ago, at Marienbad, but the woman seems not to remember that meeting...
Self-indulgent cinema at its most beautiful. I wanted to love this because duh, but I hated it because also duh. It goes nowhere, it fails to create any kind of atmosphere, and the "nightmare" it portrayed was a pretty tame nightmare. I once had a nightmare where my penis turned into a snake and ate my butt. Make a movie about that.
Deconstructing cinema much in the way Bresson wanted to do but in more grand fashion. It is akin to the Dadaist art movement of anti-art, breaking the rules and destroying the notion of what we perceive as true art. Perhaps not fully to that extent but Resnais clearly experiments with the medium of cinema in a way majorly unaccepted and ironically it becomes the focal point of where the film's greatness lies.
Last Year at Marienbad begins with repetitive and poetic narration ominously filling the air of the long empty corridors and parlors it softly speaks of. In the first few opening scenes alone it is apparent Resnais is ready to deliver something entirely unique to the world of cinema.…
Warning: There might be spoilers ahead.
My first venture into Alain Resnais' filmography couldn’t possibly have left a better impression. As great as straight forward structures can be, it's films like Last Year at Marienbad that give cinema such a unique identity and the ability to tell a story in a way that no other medium can. I like ambiguous films, but it’s the experimental nature on top that really makes this a special piece of work. I don’t really know how to review a movie that often completely ignores typical movie conventions, instead I’m going to talk about observations I made regarding the content, style and what impression they left me with.
Last Year at Marienbad is a film…
'El año pasado en Marienbad' es la película enigma definitiva. Todo el conocimiento que se desprende del relato es parcial, semioculto tras capas y capas de no se sabe bien qué. Inasible más allá de la sensación; imposible de definirse entre el sueño, la pura fantasía, el delirio, el metacine. Él (el hombre, X) no puede dejar de narrar y narrar(se), pero su relato topa con la falta de memoria, de referencias, incluso con la pura incomprensión, de ella (la mujer, A). Como si la película tuviera una lógica onírica que no puede verbalizarse, como un sueño que tiene todo el sentido en el mundo onírico pero que lo pierde cuando se intenta poner en palabras.
Puro ‘fantastique’, la película…
Whether being sleep-deprived had anything to do with it I'm not entirely sure, but something tells me I should've enjoyed Resnais' surreal, dreamlike Last Year at Marienbad a lot more than I did. It's without a doubt meticulously crafted and chock-full of innovation, a film with incredible visuals and a unique narrative that is guaranteed to leave you baffled. It's easy to see why it has garnered such a devoted following and I wish I could count myself in on it, but something felt missing in this otherwise excellent mind-bender. Maybe it's down to it being so emotionally distant and cold, but it never really clicked with me. It's one of those horrible moments in cinema of admiring the craft…
''Yes, I know. I don't care. For days and days. Why don't you still want to remember anything?''
So here's the thing...
I just cannot fathom why I did not enjoy watching this film -
- I fell head over heels for Hiroshima, Mon Amour.
- I am a sucker for enigmatic plotting and challenging narrative.
- The film is pretty damn easy on the eyes cinematographically.
- The atmospheric pipe organ score was tastefully applied.
- I drank coffee and was wide awake.
So what went wrong?
- The film was so repetitive both visually and in its narration, that I found it quite tedious.
- The emotional palette was so dry and flat, that I really could not…
An extraordinarily bizarre movie which I could never get a foothold in. It delights in confusion and obscurity, and while it has some striking images, felt like it over valued being vague and artsy over anything of substance. It is certainly a bold cinematic style that Alain Resnais undertakes, but its not one that I got anything out of. It felt like an extended experimental film which while has a chord some something interesting fails to come together in the end.
A curious "art film" that is simultaneously compelling because of its stylish and fluid direction, and frustrating because of its mind-bendingly (or is it mind-numbingly) meandering structure.
You will find precious little plot to speak of here, and even less chronology. A man tries to convince a woman that they had met at the same spot one year earlier, but she has no recollection.
The man recounts several details -- where they met, what they said, who else was there -- and we see depictions of scenes, but are they the one's hes talking about? Are they recreations? Are they real at all? The script is elliptical, repetitive, and in the hands of a less-skilled director, it would have resembled…
Must really separate the plot, whatever that is in this film, with the decor surrounding it. While the plot is irrecognizable, this film is visual art. There was not a single boring shot (and I tried to find one by the end), with each view elaborately adorned and every angle carefully chosen. While some directors are known for patent styles of tracking shots or oblique angles, this film utilizes every inch of space. By the time they show the hotel from the outside, I feel like we’ve explored wall-to-wall the entire facility. We’ve stared at the cielings, we’ve been up in the rafters (the bar scene), and the diagonal angles, showing the man in the foreground and the woman smaller…
Slow, but gripping!
Every single detail in the film creates an elegant composition on screen, surrounded with an exquisite use of dialogues that will take you on the inside of the characters' mind, this film will keep you guessing from the start till the end.
Sometimes you just gotta appreciate beautiful things for their beauty. And this is by far one of the most beautiful and poetic films I've ever seen.
I don't know if I understood it, or 'got' it, or whatever, but ultimately I don't think that really matters. It's a hypnotizing experience, which doesn't try to tell a cohesive story, rather convey emotions and ideas. And beautiful images of a baroque hotel. This movie belongs in an art museum.
Can't wait to revisit this someday.
This infamous puzzlebox of a film will test a viewer's tolerance for atmosphere, confusion, repetition, stylized and symbolic, non-naturalistic performances, and jumps in perspective and logic, all overlaid with a haunting organ score.
What plot there is revolves around a man and a woman and a second man, who may or may not be the husband of the woman. The man claims that the two met a year ago, fell in love, and made arrangements to meet at the hotel they all are staying in and run away together. She claims to have no idea what he's referring to, insisting that they are strangers. The film is challenging to a viewer, for its conception was designed to be non-narrative, to…
Last Year at Marienbad is not an easy film to view. This may sound surprising, since it is known as a luscious and visually stylish work, with almost nothing but tracking shots. No, it is very nice to look at. The difficulty comes from the amount of processing that the brain is required (or at least encouraged) to undergo during the film. Since there are no clear markers of any relationships here (between characters, between locations, between shots, between tenses, between realities), I was constantly attempting to place each image, to categorize them in order to maintain a "working theory" through which I could understand the film. This is Resnais's genius: the depth to which any viewer goes with the…
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