Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: L’Annee Derniere A Marienbad
France/Italy, 1961. Cocinor, Terra Film, Cormoran Films, Precitel, Como Films, Argos Films, Les Films Tamara, Cinétel, Silver Films, Cineriz. Screenplay by Alain Robbe-Grillet. Cinematography by Sacha Vierny. Produced by Pierre Courau, Anatole Dauman, Raymond Froment. Music by Francis Seyrig. Production Design by Jacques Saulnier. Costume Design by Bernard Evein. Film Editing by Jasmine Chasney, Henri Colpi.
A man runs into a beautiful woman (Delphine Seyrig) at a posh European villa and insists they’ve met before. This is just about the only conversation they have throughout the film, though it’s spread out over many different locales and time frames, as we work towards the point where it starts to seem possible that maybe they do know each other. Alain Resnais’ second film, an exercise in experiment that is much more obscure than his brilliant Hiroshima, Mon Amour, uses cutting-edge editing and gorgeous photography to put across a purely anti-narrative story. Some will be so frustrated by it that they won’t even make it halfway, while art film lovers will at least enjoy exploring this chapter in cinema history that has influenced so many others after it. Seyrig is at her most romantically beautiful, and the costume design (by Coco Chanel no less) and art direction are superb.
The Criterion Collection: #478
Academy Award Nomination: Best Original Story and Screenplay
Venice Film Festival Award: Golden Lion