Alain Resnais, the French filmmaker who helped introduce literary modernism to the movies and became an international art-house star with nonlinear narrative films like “Hiroshima Mon Amour” and “Last Year at Marienbad,” died on Saturday in Paris. He was 91. (NY Times)
From my article Lucid Dreaming: Surrealism in the Movies:
The 1961 film “Last Year at Marienbad” (by Alain Resnais) was one of the first movies to warp time and space in dream-like fashion. This stream-of-consciousness film set the stage for modern time-warpers such as Memento and Vanilla Sky.
Ostensibly a tale of seduction, “Last Year at Marienbad” is a symbolic, twisted journey through the human psyche. The hero and heroine travel, entranced, through halls of endless mirrors, archways, and lush gardens with classical statues. Their conversation leads everywhere and nowhere.
Perhaps they met last year at Marienbad and had an affair, perhaps not. We never find out. But as the movie proceeds, it becomes increasingly disquieting, and the viewer feels trapped inside the minds of the characters.
Watching this movie is akin to an endless art museum visit, with classical architecture standing in for the labyrinths of our mind, its neurons and synapses. ”Last Year at Marienbad” is famous for its visual vocabulary of enigma and charade, which is so subconsciously seductive that it’s endured for decades in the advertising industry.
The movie is in French, with English subtitles. (Click HERE to watch the original trailer)
RIP, Alain. You showed us a new way to see the world.
(Image: A still from Last Year at Marienbad).