MYSTERY, DRAMA / FRANCE / 2018 (RESTORED VERSION) / 94 MINS / PG
Over half a century has passed; yet, Alain Resnais’ (Hiroshima Mon Amour, 1959; You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, AF FFF2013) para-surrealist masterpiece is as powerful today as when originally released at the height of the French New Wave. In a rare cinematic event, the Festival presents Last Year in Marienbad the way it was intended – on the big screen – newly restored from the 35mm print into a digital cinema package supported by the fashion house, Chanel, also responsible for designing Delphine Seyrig’s gowns.
Set within a breathtakingly ornate Baroque mansion seemingly frozen in time, which the camera captures through continuous panning of its sumptuous interiors, Last Year at Marienbad focuses on two central, unnamed characters – one a French woman and an Italian man. They may have been lovers at the hotel the previous year but the woman denies knowing him, while another man – possibly her husband – asserts his dominance by constantly challenging and beating the Italian man at the mathematical game of nim.
Through ambiguous voiceovers, unusual shifts in time and place, and repeated lines of dialogue, we’re immersed in Resnais’ simultaneously dreamlike and nightmarish world, one that “appears to have been absorbed from Buñuel and Antonioni and transmitted onward to Greenaway” (The Guardian). To watch Marienbad is to experience a triumph of French cinema that knows no equal.
"Marienbad is elegantly hermetic, a ravishing waxworks that has stillness at its heart."– Boston Globe
"The movie is what it is -- a sustained mood, an empty allegory, a choreographed moment outside of time, and a shocking intimation of perfection."– Village Voice
DIRECTED BY: ALAIN RESNAIS
STARRING: DELPHINE SEYRIG, GIORGIO ALNERTAZZI, JEAN LANIER, SASHA PITOËFF