|L’Année dernière à Marienbad, Last Year at Marienbad
Released in the US as Last Year at Marienbad and in the UK as Last Year in Marienbadis a 1961 French film directed by Alain Resnais from a screenplay by Alain Robbe-Grillet.
The film is famous for its enigmatic narrative structure, in which truth and fiction are difficult to distinguish, and the temporal and spatial relationship of the events is open to question. The dream-like nature of the film has fascinated and baffled audiences and critics; some hail it as a masterpiece, others find it incomprehensible. ..
The film continually creates an ambiguity in the spatial and temporal aspects of what it shows, and creates uncertainty in the mind of the spectator about the causal relationships between events. This may be achieved through the editing, giving apparently incompatible information in consecutive shots, or within a shot which seems to show impossible juxtapositions, or by means of repetitions of events in different settings and décor.
L’Année dernière à Marienbad was created out of an unusual collaboration between its writer Alain Robbe-Grillet and its director Alain Resnais. 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.”Robbe-Grillet wrote a screenplay which was very detailed, specifying not only the décor and gestures but also the placement and movement of the camera and the sequencing of shots in the editing. Resnais filmed the script with great fidelity, making only limited alterations which seemed necessary. Robbe-Grillet was not present during the filming. When he saw the rough-cut, he said that he found the film just as he had intended it, while recognising how much Resnais had added to make it work on the screen and to fill out what was absent from the script. Robbe-Grillet then published his screenplay, illustrated by shots from the film, as a “ciné-roman” (ciné-novel). The film won the Golden Lion at the 1961 Venice Film Festival.
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– Photo Courtesy Rialto Pictures