Last Year at Marienbad

The characters, or rather figures, in this Alain Resnais movie are a tony variant of the undead of vampire movies-"We live as in coffins frozen side by side in a garden." This high-fashion puzzle movie, written by Alain Robbe-Grillet, is set in what is described to us as an "enormous, luxurious, baroque, lugubrious hotel-where corridors succeed endless corridors." The mood is set by climaxes of organ music and this distended narration; it's all solemn and expectant-like High Mass. The dialogue about whether the characters met the year before is like a parody of wealthy indolence. The settings and costumes seem to be waiting for a high romantic theme or fantasy; the people, pawns who are manipulated into shifting positions, seem to be placed for wit, or for irony. But all we get are pretty pictures. Robbe-Grillet says that the film is a pure construction, an object without reference to anything outside itself, and that the existence of the two characters begins when the film begins and ends 93 minutes later. It has a hypnotic effect on some people; others may be tempted to end it sooner. With Delphine Seyrig, Sacha Pitoëff, and Giorgio Albertazzi. The cinematography is by Sacha Vierny. The exteriors were shot at the chateaus of Nymphenburg, Schleissheim, and at other Munich locations; the interiors were shot in a Paris studio. In French. Distributed in the U.S. by Astor Pictures.
see I Lost it at the Movies.