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Posts Tagged ‘Sacha Pitoëff’

Alain Resnai’s Last Year at Marienbad takes the viewer through a hall of mirrors, filled with character doppelgangers, carpets and tapestries that trap and keep the sounds of dialogue only to release them later in another part of the hotel. The scenic Versailles-like grounds in which the action takes place further reflects the repetition found in the dialogue and Marienbad’s eerie score makes it feel like something out of The Twilight Zone.

The play that is being watched at the beginning of the film, actually takes place at the end, lends the film a “play within a play” feeling.  The play is entertainment for the guests of the hotel, who are actually furniture and only exist as the backdrop for the three main characters: A (Delphine Seyrig), X (Giorgio Albertazzi), and M (Sacha Pitoëff).

The inconsistencies of the timeline are used to make the audience uneasy.  If you simply try to enjoy the film, a bathroom break and blinking are out of the question.  The sense of urgency that begins to permeate throughout Marienbad via the lost sense of time, tricks the audience into thinking that any second all will be revealed, but that revelation just never comes.  The only quasi-revelation comes when the glass is broken down in the bar.  A screams and seems to fear that she has embarrassed herself by such an outward display of emotion.  It seems that she is more afraid that she has remembered her interactions last year with X.  She goes to her room and finds a drawer full of photographs, signifying a sort of reoccurring day.  Time finally matters toward the end of the film when the chimes are heard for the first time, signaling that it is time for A to leave with X and reinvent “last year,” in a sense.

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