Last Year at Marienbad (L'année dernière à Marienbad) 1961

Last Year at Marienbad

Critics Consensus

Elegantly enigmatic and dreamlike, this work of essential cinema features exquisite cinematography and an exploration of narrative still revisited by filmmakers today.

94%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 51

85%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,332

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Movie Info

In this unconventional French drama, a group of unnamed aristocrats interact at a palatial château, resulting in an enigmatic tale told partially in flashback. X (Giorgio Albertazzi) is convinced that he has met the beautiful A (Delphine Seyrig) before in the Czech resort town of Marienbad, and implies they had a romantic relationship. M (Sacha Pitoeff), who may be A's husband or boyfriend, confronts her mysterious suitor, leading to conflict and questions about the truth behind his story.

Cast & Crew

Sacha Pitoeff
M, Escort, Husband
Françoise Bertin
Un personnage de l'hôtel
Héléna Kornel
Alain Resnais
Screenwriter
Sacha Vierny
Cinematographer
Henri Colpi
Film Editor
Jasmine Chasney
Film Editor
Francis Seyrig
Original Music
Jacques Saulnier
Production Design
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News & Interviews for Last Year at Marienbad (L'année dernière à Marienbad)

Critic Reviews for Last Year at Marienbad (L'année dernière à Marienbad)

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (3)

  • The story's obscurity turns out to result from its protagonists' own efforts to deny or blur their painful past.

    May 13, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The visual moments that remain in the mind are without exception locked into place by the intensity of the score.

    November 15, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Quote not available.

    November 17, 2011 | Rating: 5/5
  • Was there ever a film thought so boring by so many yet accorded the status of a classic?

    July 8, 2011 | Rating: 4/5
  • Profoundly mysterious and disturbing, a para-surrealist masterpiece whose nightmarish scenario appears to have been absorbed from Buñuel and Antonioni and transmitted onward to Greenaway.

    July 7, 2011 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • To even talk of a story is nonsensical, since a central aesthetic of the film involves the effects of fantasy, time and subjective memory on human consciousness. Marienbad takes place in a heightened, sci-fi nightmare world where knowing, believing

    May 1, 2008 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Last Year at Marienbad (L'année dernière à Marienbad)

  • Jan 07, 2018
    A mesmerizing film that impresses for Resnais' exceptional direction as he creates an enigmatic dreamlike experience that blends memory and reality through its unique use of editing and keeps us always in doubt whether what we are witnessing is the product of someone's mind.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 02, 2017
    As hypnotic as it is enigmatic. Once you stop trying to figure out what is happening and simply allow yourself to fall under the movie's spell it's infinitely rewarding.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 08, 2015
    In the film's opening sequence, the camera smoothly drifts and hypnotizes through an array of elegant hallways and corridors in a vast luxurious hotel. Accompanying this is a voice on loop that seemingly describes the feeling of being stuck in these hallways - observing not only the grandiose nature of the architecture, but also the muteness of the people who inhabit it. As we continue on the journey, a man and woman are eventually distinguished from the crowd as the two protagonists - one repeatedly attempting to convince the other that they have met and fallen in love the prior year. Beautiful as this opening is, the way the rest of the film unfolds becomes the crux of both its downfalls and its strengths. It is confusion at its boldest and most dreamlike state; a piece that shuns conventional linear storytelling and instead, opts for a play on time, on space, on memory; a narrative that is sometimes boring but most importantly never not intriguing. Thus we are introduced to Alain Resnais's LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD. MARIENBAD is a beast of its own nature. It is a quintessential love-it-or-hate-it piece. The concept of repetition and time is explored quite ravishedly. The story weaves in and out, goes up and down, and glides through without establishing true concrete hints for viewers to grasp. It is this that may alienate the most casual viewer. Although the narrative can get messy, the cinematography and editing are both exquisite and unyielding - the frame constantly evokes a nostalgic and steady yet almost amnesic atmosphere with its elegant slow tracking, its isolation of characters and space through light and shadow (and aided by luscious costume design), and its chaotic control of rhythm through jump cuts, match cuts, and bold flashes. The film exudes a sort of technical brilliance that in a sense can be seen by some to be its redeeming quality. MARIENBAD, to all its credit, is probably one of the most mysterious films ever made. For that, it is worth a watch alone. Like or dislike, Resnais goes for something, and it is up to each individual's subjective experience to decide whether or not he succeeds.
    Sheldon C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 10, 2014
    Dreamlike, yet also nightmarish. An exploration into the desolate psyche of a man transfixed and tortured by the image of a beautiful woman. In Jungian terms, it is a good representation of a man in caught in a terrible descent with his own anima (image/apparition of a woman). In that way, and in more ways than just that one, the film's spiritual cousin is 1950's 'Orphée,' as well as 1972's 'Solaris.' Extremely well shot, well directed, composed with fitting music, and picturesquely acted. Forms a hypnotic and unnerving, eerie and subtly haunting experience.
    Kyle M Super Reviewer

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