Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 198: Tuesday July 19

Last Year in Marienbad (Resnais, 1961): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30 & 8.45pm

The art house classic is showing on an extended run at the BFI as part of the Alain Resnais season.

Here is the Chicago Reader review:

'This radical experiment in film form by director Alain Resnais and screenwriter Alain Robbe-Grillet was a surprising commercial success in 1961, even in the U.S., and it's been a rallying point for the possibilities of formal filmmaking ever since. A highly seductive parable about seduction, it's set in and around a baroque European chateau/hotel, where the nameless hero (Giorgio Albertazzi) tries to persuade the nameless heroine (Delphine Seyrig) that they met the previous year. Shot by Sacha Vierny in otherworldly black-and-white 'Scope, it oscillates ambiguously between past, present, and various conditional tenses, mixing memory and fantasy, fear and desire. The overall tone is poker-faced parody of lush Hollywood melodrama, yet the film's dreamlike cadences, frozen tableaux, and distilled surrealist poetry are too eerie, too terrifying even, to be shaken off as camp. For all its notoriety, this masterpiece among masterpieces has never really received its due.' In French with subtitles. 93 min.

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