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Last Year at Marienbad

L’Année Dernière à Marienbad

France | 1961 | 94 minutes | Alain Resnais

Late French director Alain Resnais’ enigmatic, voluptuous drama—winner of the 1961 Venice Film Festival Golden Lion and now restored in glorious 35mm—explores the mysterious, surreal relationship between three unnamed protagonists against the grounds of a grand hotel.

May 20, 2014
SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival  
6:30 PM Date has passed
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This exquisite puzzle-box of a movie takes place in a grand hotel with endless corridors, ornate ceilings, elaborately decorated rooms, and impeccably sculptured shrubbery. There are many tuxedo- and gown-clad guests, but three stand out: the beautiful A (Delphine Seyrig), X (Giorgio Albertazzi), who insists that he and A have met the year before, and sepulchral M (Sacha Pitoëff), who may be A’s lover or husband. As eerie organ music plays, guests come and go, crowds congregate and abruptly freeze in place as the principals walk by, casting long shadows. Sudden shifts of time and space weave a hypnotic spell. What does it all mean? Ah, that is the stuff of post-film discussion! Marienbad is an intriguing and virtuosic tour-de-force, if only for its velvety black-and-white photography by cinematographer Sacha Vierny. With its Oscar-nominated screenplay by Alain Robbe-Grillet, director Alain Resnais’ enigma is one of the most iconic and influential films in cinema history. “Seeing the film again, and succumbing, like a dance partner, to its gliding moves, one has to ask: how could a film this beautiful ever have been thought unapproachable?” — Anthony Lane, “The New Yorker”

Director Biography

Alain Resnais was an esteemed director, born in Vannes, Brittany in France. In 1939 he moved to Paris to focus on acting, becoming one of the first graduating students of the French Film School, L’Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques. Resnais’ films were known for their dramatic themes, and dark, politically centered storylines, which were exemplified in Night and Fog (1955) and Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959). This linked him more with the Left Bank filmmakers than those associated with the simultaneous and more commercially successful French New Wave. Resnais received a lifetime achievement award at Cannes Film Festival in 2009, and was consistently working on films up until his death in March of this year.

Sponsored by TV5MONDE, Alliance Française de Seattle, French American Cultural Society, French Immersion School of Washington, The French American School of Puget Sound

Director: Alain Resnais
Principal Cast: Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, Sacha Pitoëff
Country: France
Year: 1961
Running Time: 94 minutes
Producer: Pierre Courau, Raymond Froment
Screenplay: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Cinematographers: Sacha Vierny
Editors: Jasmine Chasney, Henri Colpi
Music: Francis Seyrig
Website: Official Film Website
Awards: Academy Awards 1963 (nomination for Best Screenplay), French Syndicate of Cinema Critics 1962 (Best Film), Venice Film Festival 1961 (Golden Lion)
Filmography: Life of Riley (2014); You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet! (2012); Wild Grass (2009); Private Fears in Public Places (2006); Not on the Lips (2003); Same Old Song (1997); Smoking/No Smoking (1993); I Want to Go Home (1989); Mélo (1986); Love Unto Death (1984); Life is a Bed of Roses (1983); My American Uncle (1980); Providence (1977); Stavisky (1974); Je t’aime, je t’aime (1968); The War is Over (1966); Muriel, ou le Temps d’un Retour (1963); Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)
Language: French
HasSubTitles: Yes
Format: 35 MM
International Sales: Rialto Pictures
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