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L'Année dernière à Marienbad
February 26, 2013 7:17 PM   Subscribe

The famous avant-garde movie Last Year at Marienbad is on YouTube.

From Wikipedia: "L'Année dernière à Marienbad was created out of an unusual collaboration between its writer Alain Robbe-Grillet [previously] and its director Alain Resnais [previously]. Robbe-Grillet described its basis: 'Alain Resnais and I were able to collaborate only because we had seen the film in the same way from the start, and not just in the same general outlines but exactly, in the construction of the least detail as in its total architecture. What I wrote might have been what was already in [his] mind; what he added during the shooting was what I might have written. ... Paradoxically enough, and thanks to the perfect identity of our conceptions, we almost always worked separately.'"

"(No filming was done in the Czech spa town of Marienbad - and the film does not allow the viewer to know with certainty which, if any, scenes are supposed to be located there.)" Palaces at which the movie was filmed: Amalienburg, Nymphenburg, and Schleissheim, all around Munich.

"The film critic Pauline Kael called it 'the high-fashion experimental film, the snow job at the ice palace ... back at the no-fun party for non-people.'" Her review of the movie in 5001 Nights at the Movies.

Roger Ebert's more favorable take.

Mark Polizzotti's take at the Criterion Collection.

A blog post on the music.

The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, a possible influence on the movie.

More on the nouveau roman.

More on the French New Wave.

Bonuses:

"To the End," Blur

I Know What You Did Last Year at Marienbad
posted by Rustic Etruscan (26 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

 
Seeing this in the theater was absolutely incredible. Like indescribably. It needs to be seen on as big a screen as you can possibly get.

Also, I still have no idea what the hell is going on in most of the movie and, more importantly, don't care. I have a little book about it I found on sale in an art school library, but I'm yet to read it.
posted by griphus at 7:21 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


It makes much more sense if you read The Invention of Morel. The Senses of Cinema link (which I came here to post) is a very good one. I recommend the book, as well.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:24 PM on February 26, 2013


Watching this for the first time, I realized how derivative the mid-90s Calvin Klein Obsession ads were.
posted by Bromius at 7:32 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


That was the campaign I was thinking of. Meant to add it to the Bonus section. Here's an ad from the 1985 Obsession campaign, if that's the right one. Here's SNL's Compulsion.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:42 PM on February 26, 2013


Here's another ad from the same campaign.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:45 PM on February 26, 2013


I was in Marienbad many years ago, and I stared around, existentially, looking for that lost plaza. It later turned out that my Mother-In-Law had invited us on a tour of Nymphenburg the week before, but we declined.
posted by ovvl at 7:51 PM on February 26, 2013


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posted by nathancaswell at 7:55 PM on February 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


One of my favorite movies. Anyone else love In the Labyrinth?
posted by nathancaswell at 7:58 PM on February 26, 2013


Fantastic damn post.

I'm another who counts Marienbad a favorite. It's one of those films for which I'll drop everything if given a chance to see it on a big screen. (Others: Closely Watched Trains, The Earrings of Madame de..., Holiday, Raiders of the Lost Ark.)

Was Morel an influence on the film? Sure, maybe. But I think the Sense of Cinema guy way overstates his case.
posted by Iridic at 8:20 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: the no-fun party for non-people.
posted by Rangeboy at 8:23 PM on February 26, 2013


I really need to see this movie again, now that I've been sucked in by this post. I saw it when I was about 17 and it was completely over my head. I'm not sure it still won't be, but I'm going to explore these links and try it again.
posted by OolooKitty at 8:27 PM on February 26, 2013


One of my greatest moments of pleasure in life was watching this movie the first time and seeing the surreal scene of the people on the terrace and the shadowless scenery. I stopped the movie and wound it back about 8 times, it was such a subtle and intriguing image. Just one, of course, in a movie baroque with intriguing images.

Another good one was reading about the film afterwards and seeing that many others shared my feelings about about that particular scene.
posted by carsonb at 8:50 PM on February 26, 2013


Great post. Thanks, Rustic Etruscan.
posted by homunculus at 8:57 PM on February 26, 2013


Thanks for the post. When it first came out I kept going back to see it, both because I loved it and because I didn't understand it. At around the eighth viewing, something popped or snapped or unzipped in my mind and I decided that I wasn't supposed to understand it, and in that way I was understanding it. Or something like that. Anyway, that satisfied my curiosity and I haven't needed to see it again. Maybe now it is time. After all, over 40 years have passed.
posted by Hobgoblin at 9:09 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I watched this film with an ex who was not particularly inclined towards art movies, and for the next year and a half he'd stop randomly around our apartment and start muttering in broken, monotonic faux-French while staring into the middle distance. At least he thought it was funny.

I DTMFA'd.
posted by mykescipark at 9:39 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


No-fun party for non-people, story of my life. As much as I love it, I know I wouldn't be doing the movie any favors by watching it on my sluggish netbook.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:39 PM on February 26, 2013


This is, sad to say, one of the few movies I've walked out of. Later I read The Invention of Morel, and enjoyed it a great deal, but I'm not sure I'm up for a return to the flick.
posted by kenko at 10:42 PM on February 26, 2013


YES! I need say no more... however...

"I was in Marienbad many years ago..."
posted by ovvl

O_o
posted by marienbad at 4:43 AM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I watched this film with an ex who was not particularly inclined towards art movies, and for the next year and a half he'd stop randomly around our apartment and start muttering in broken, monotonic faux-French while staring into the middle distance. At least he thought it was funny.

I love Marienbad but tbh this is kind of funny.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:33 AM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I was in Marienbad many years ago..."

Technically, it was Mariánské Lázně.
posted by ovvl at 5:41 AM on February 27, 2013


One of my favorites. It creates a sense of place unlike any other movie that I've seen. Even though the mansion is a nonsensical labyrinth, it still feels tangible in a certain sense.
posted by codacorolla at 8:40 AM on February 27, 2013


Don't mean to derail this thread, but Marienbad always reminds me of Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles -- because in a sense they are opposites. In one, things are going on that are hard to understand; in the other, simple, prosaic, domestic things -- very easy to understand -- are happening (till the end of course). It's all taste, I guess, but I think Jeanne Dielman is far superior.
posted by anothermug at 10:04 AM on February 27, 2013


That endless opening sequence with the hallways and chandeliers and droning organ music is so trippy...

Also: funny useless trivia: when a journalist asked Pierre Elliot Trudeau what his favourite movie was...
posted by ovvl at 5:19 PM on February 27, 2013


excellent work. thank you.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:10 PM on February 27, 2013


This is the book I have. It was written by Robbe-Grillet, and if you want to know the nitty-gritty of the film, it's a treasure.
posted by griphus at 7:16 PM on February 27, 2013


Roger Ebert: It is possible, I realize, to grow impatient with ``Last Year at Marienbad.'' To find it affected and insufferable. It doesn't hurtle through its story like today's hits--it's not a narrative pinball machine. It is a deliberate, artificial artistic construction. I watched it with a pleasure so intense I was surprised.

I trust Ebert a lot, this is pretty high praise. To Youtube, To download, To Enjoy !!!
posted by dancestoblue at 1:39 AM on February 28, 2013


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