Last Year at Marienbad / L'année dernière à Marienbad (1961)

4.5 out of 5

If not for the unusual and oneiric experience the film provides, Last Year at Marienbad could’ve been an exhaustingly dull ordeal, but as it stands the overall product is a peerless work of art that manages to be interesting from seemingly nothing. The reality in the movie feels machine operated, where time starts and stops and automaton-like characters move in and out of spatial existence in an ethereal hotel setting.

A single conversational story runs through the myriad of images and cyclical themes that purposefully reaches no resolve between a nameless man, played by Giorgio Albertazzi, and woman, played by Delphine Seyrig of Daughters of Darkness, who have contradicting memories about intimately getting to know one another a year prior at the European hotel resort in question. Traditional narrative and objective reality are challenged, as it sometimes becomes uncertain as to whether events are happening in the present, the past, or even happening at all. Viewers are welcome to make of it what they will.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics