Resnais’ film is a barely possible comedy about the pompous cult of romantic love we all carry in our hearts. At first the film lures us into romantic love with romantic love (into an unconditional identification with it) only to overwhelm us by the stylistic monumentalization ecstatic love expects from its narrator, and then it suddenly introduces into the narration subversive intonations which leaves us still enamored with love but simultaneously confused, disoriented and lost.

Resnais’ directorial power of making the visual images whisper, talk, sing, scream and hint is equal to his craft of making the audio images contrapuntal addition to them when both are addressing not only the viewer’s soul but his/her mind which has a chance to answer with positive (creative) puzzlement triggering farther intellectual concentration offering to our hearts new paths. Aestheticism becomes an ironic prelude to intellectual concentration that friendly returns irony before pointing to something else which our souls have to yet discover.

The reality status of last year in Marienbad as a place of meeting of two hypothetical lovers (X and A) in the past, which the main protagonist X tries to suggest to the woman (A) personifying X’s yearning for love, cannot be verified. Strong love is never the first time although it almost always seems like it is – it is always prepared by the forgotten past experiences or dreams and by mythologized unconscious desires.

As a person who has watched this film repeatedly during at least thirty five years (in the beginning, as if, in trance and later as a teasing obsession) I can assure the potential viewers that to experience it means to participate in a process which never stops to trigger your emotions and returns to you again and again, always fresh, impressive and challenging, like the need to love, like love between X and A (when viewers in relation to the film start as A and later as X, without losing any feeling of mystery).

The actors incarnating the three angles of a love triangle (“lover”, “husband” and the “wife/mistress” correspondingly) – are simultaneously realistic and capable of stylizing human emotions which are easily recognizable but, on the other hand, enigmatic and open to the unknown.

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Resnais is directing Delphine Seyrig (A), as though he was giving her a dancing lesson or choreographing her expressiveness.

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Resnais explains to Giorgio Albertazzi (X) and Delphine Seyrig the metaphysical mutuality between X and A

On the set of L'Annee Derniere a Marienbad
Deconstructive inspiration of Resnais and Delphine Seyrig is reflected in the “romantic” pomposity of the stylized tri-fold mirror.

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Like the greatest goodness can be matched by great evil, great love is matched by great suffering of lost love, when both sides equally respect one another. A will leave with X, but M (Sacha Pitoeff) gives himself to the condition of being abandoned by her with no less grace than the one with which X and A will start their life together. Genuine believer feels chosen even he/she is in the bottom of the hierarchy of believers.

Posted om Mar 20, 2011 –   “Last Year in Marienbad” (1960) by Alain Resnais as a Comedy about the Fixation of Human Soul on Elevated Amorous Object  by Acting-Out Politics