Friday, May 25, 2007

Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

I am fascinated by films that propose puzzles and then set out and in fact intend to never solve them (as evidenced by my love of L'Avventura, Blowup, The Passenger, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Limbo), and so this'un was right up my alley. This is the sort of film people mock as being "pretentious, pointless French cinema", because those people are looking for a story, and a resolution.

This film presents a situation. Two people at a luxurious hotel. The man tells the woman that they had an affair. She disagrees. He says they met last year and agreed to meet again. She disagrees. The film suggests that another man who may be her husband but is definitely some sort of authority figure knew. It says he doesn't. He kills her. He doesn't.

As Ebert said, "It is a deliberate, artificial artistic construction." And also, "The idea, I think, is that life is like this movie: No matter how many theories you apply to it, life presses on indifferently toward its own inscrutable ends. The fun is in asking questions. Answers are a form of defeat."

There you have it. Amazing. A+

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