Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

Genres - Avant-garde / Experimental  |   Sub-Genres - Surrealist Film, Psychological Drama  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - France, Italy  |   MPAA Rating - NR
  • AllMovie Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Share on

Review by Leo Charney

One of the most enigmatic and distinctive movies ever made, this collaboration of director Alain Resnais with leading French novelist and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet has confounded and intrigued audiences since it first led the wave of European art movies in the early 1960s. Wandering through and around the story of a mysterious love triangle as it wanders through and around its hotel setting, the film can be interpreted, among other possibilities, as a parody of Hollywood romantic melodramas; as an effort to find a new way to tell a romantic melodrama, free of the clich├ęs imposed by Hollywood; as a mystery, whose answer is finally unresolved and perhaps unresolvable; as, therefore, a Rashomon-like examination of the uncertainty of truth; as a philosophical inquiry into truth, time, memory, and personal identity; as a purely sensual melange of shapes and sounds -- grand architecture, striking compositions, and strange soundtrack elements; as a self-reflexive examination of cinema itself; or as a game, like the logarithm game at the center of the story, played by the filmmakers with the audience. Whatever interpretation(s) one favors, this is, for better or for worse, an unforgettable and unique movie, a high-water mark of postwar European art cinema.