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Last Year at Marienbad (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Version française) [Import]

4.1 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, Sacha Pitoëff, Françoise Bertin, Luce Garcia-Ville
  • Directors: Alain Resnais
  • Writers: Alain Robbe-Grillet
  • Producers: Anatole Dauman, Pierre Courau, Raymond Froment, Robert Dorfmann
  • Format: Black & White, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: June 23 2009
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews
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Product Description

One of the most ferociously iconoclastic and experimental films of the French New Wave, Alain Resnais's 1961 feature, winner of the grand prize at that year's Venice Film Festival, is based on a script by Alain Robbe-Grillet. At its center is what seems to be a simple but unanswerable puzzle: Did its protagonist (Giorgio Albertazzi) have an affair the year before with a woman (Delphine Seyrig) he just met (or possibly re-met) at his hotel? The inquiry becomes an unsettling experiment in flattening the dimensions of past, present, and future so that any difference between them becomes meaningless, while Resnais's coldly formal but oddly dreamlike geometric compositions make space itself seem a function of subjective memory. Add to that Resnais's trademark tracking shots--long, smooth, a visual correlative of a wordless feeling--and this is a film that truly gets under the skin in almost inexplicable ways. One of the most influential works of its time. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
This enigmatic film still hasn't yielded all of its mysteries - mostly because the viewer is awarded complete freedom to give its intricate rythms and figures the significations he or she perceives. The brilliant soundtrack, which combines a textured set of voice-overs and somber organ music, induces reverie... but a reverie highlighted by brief and unforgettable nightmares ('Marienbad' is unsettling to a degree that few movies are). The film's world is above all artistic: it is a 90-minute visit inside a museum of mirrors, statues, photographs and paintings; the characters themselves assume all of these roles over the course of the work. The cinematic image feeds on other images - some are seen in mirrors, others come from illustrations. Everything, from theme to form, is absorbed and transformed by art; this is in line with the notion of "l'art pour l'art" championed by 'Marienbad' writer Robbe-Grillet at the time. The film also has connections with Resnais' own work: memory is as much preserved as it is artistically constructed, and 'X' (Albertazzi) can be read as an artist-figure - something Resnais would return to in 'Providence' (1976). It is tempting to envision the Marienbad chateau and its surroundings as a dedalian labyrinth whose Minotaur lies just out of reach... but this is only one possible reading among countless others. This unique masterpiece should be seen again and again.
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Format: VHS Tape
As is usual for Resnais, there are two plots unfolding in the course of this film. The first, as defined by the outlines of the screenplay, is, to my mind, of scant interest in itself. Something surely happened last year at Marienbad, or not, and something or other may or may not be happening now, which is about as much as is certain. But its convolutions and inconguities only work to set into relief the other, parallel plot, which isn't about the characters.
The movie begins with the camera scanning the luxuriant palace where most (all?) of the action is to take place. It's a wonderful sequence, which lends the baroque interior a sense of elegiac mystery, as if one were entering excavated halls built by an extinct civilization. Only the voiceover, in its self-conscious mumbling, sounds a note that is vaguely of out sync.
This contradictory note germinates. What follows at first is a largely incoherent mixture of awkwardly pompous scenes, which are delivered with sometimes egregious overacting and set in a style that points to French cinematic drama of the generation preceeding Resnais'. Most of it is so hokey that one is hard-pressed to take it seriously, and you can't help wondering if this is a prelude that the film will snap out of, just like the wooden intonations in the opening of "Hiroshima, mon amour" give way to subtle naturalistic acting. The dialog, too, seems conspiratorial, alluding to unsolvable puzzles, subverted communication, and things intended to mean whatever one wants them to mean. By the time the script delivers a clear-cut joke, in the authoritative but absurd description of a statue which two characters had been trying to interpret, it is tempting to adopt the working hypothesis that you're watching a parody.
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Format: Blu-ray
"Last Year at Marienbad"(1961) is here presented by Criterion in remastered HD Blu-ray, and it is well worth the wait. This enigmatic gem, directed by Alain Resnais, is about persuasion, and memory, as well as being a tribute to the silent films, and early talkies. I'm reminded of the early suspense films of Alfred Hitchcock, like "Rebecca", as well as early horror films, such as Nosferatu. The grand darkened stairwell looks like it may very well have been descended by Dracula himself. The character "M" reinforces this reference with his gaunt figure. The heroine "A"(Delphine Seyrig) often appears like a figure imprisoned in Nosferatu's castle, especially in the bedroom scenes. The other major character "X", played by the charismatic Georgio Albertazzi, tries to persuade the heroine to leave with him, that they had met last year at Marienbad, and promised to be together. As the film unfolds we learn that some violent act may have happened last year. Rooms and corridors shift from scene to scene as if in a dream. What is the truth? Does she really want to leave with "X"? Should she? Is "M" her husband? Even as this film is a homage to earlier films and directors (Alfred Hitchcock's sideways silhouette is seen in a hallway about twelve minutes into the film), other films have since been influenced by this seminal film with its' fragmented subjective structure as has been seen in films like Christopher Nolan's "Memento" or Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining".

This version of the film is unique in that it offers the viewer both the original and remastered soundtrack.
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Format: DVD
A chronicle of what happens when the truth comes knocking in your life. At first the wild love affair while on holiday, but an affair only: When this heart comes back to carry you off for good, there's denial, conflict, and ultimately the hard choice between it and your stalwart, practical mate: the life you'd been leading so comfortably, so accommodatingly, for so long. Enthralling.
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