SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB: Week 168 - Last Year at Marienbad

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by europe1, Jul 24, 2019.

  1. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    NOTE to NON-MEMBERS: Interested in joining the SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB? Shoot me a PM for more info!

    Here's a quick list of all movies watched by the SMC. Or if you prefer, here's a more detailed examination.

    [​IMG]

    Our Director
    Alain Resnais

    [​IMG]+
    Alain Resnais was born on June 3, 1922 in Vannes, Morbihan, France as Alain Pierre Marie Jean Georges Resnais. He was a director and editor, known for On connaît la chanson (1997), Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and Mon oncle d'Amérique (1980). He was married to Sabine Azéma and Florence Malraux. He died on March 1, 2014 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France.

    Our Stars
    Giorgio Albertazzi
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    Delphine Seyrig
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    Film Overview

    Premise: In a strange and isolated chateau, a man becomes acquainted with a woman and insists that they have met before.
    Budget: $it's arthouse!​

    Box Office: $it's arthouse!​


    Trivia
    (Courtesy of IMDB)

    * The match game in the movie is named as "Nim". In order to win the game there is only one tactic including a system called "Nim Sum". If both players use this tactic perfectly, then the owner of the first move will eventually lose. Due to the same reason, it is always disadvantageous to start the game first.

    * Partly inspired by Adolfo Bioy Casares' fantastic novel "L'invention de Morel".

    * Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.

    * The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.

    * One of the films included in "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (And How They Got That Way)" by Harry Medved and Randy Lowell.

    Members: @europe1 @MusterX @Cubo de Sangre @FrontNakedChoke @Tufts @chickenluver @Scott Parker 27 @OMGstreetfight @Yotsuya @jei @LHWBelt @moreorless87 @HARRISON_3 @Bullitt68 @HenryFlower @Zer @Rimbaud82
     
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  2. Bullitt68

    Bullitt68 Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Huh, I never noticed Jeanne Dielman was the female lead. Extra incentive for this week. Not sure when I'll get to this one. Neither of my libraries had it and I'm honestly more pumped to watch the Blu-rays that I checked out than I am to have to go back to watching something on my computer, but I'll be in here this week at some point for sure.

    Also, for any nerds who care, here's a quick little scholarly synopsis of what this film is all about from David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson's Film Art textbook.
     
  3. HUNTERMANIA

    HUNTERMANIA "I felt it." Platinum Member

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    What happened to the guy that originally ran this? What was his name?

    I still have to go back and watch Amadeus -- I just haven't had time.
     
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  4. FrontNakedChoke

    FrontNakedChoke ____________________

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    @FrontNakedChoke saying hello again everybody, and welcome once again, to the pointless commentary championship - My partner as always, myself, and I have a feeling this is gonna be a rough one. Let's get it on!

    Black and white with subtitles.
    Classic SMC. How old are you guys
    <DisgustingHHH><DisgustingHHH><DisgustingHHH>

    I did love Buster Keaton's The General, though
    so I'm not gonna write this one off just yet
    [​IMG]

    Can't stand this music so far.

    Yeah I made it one hour and seven minutes in. Just can't do it anymore.
    Jorge Masvidal's mom said if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
    [​IMG]

    Just not my cup of tea.
    Some cool visuals, but nothing else did much for me.

    Sorry to who ever nominated it.
    <{ByeHomer}>
     
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  5. moreorless87

    moreorless87 Out To Lunch

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    Its obviously a film that demands a good deal of the viewer trying to understand what the hell is going on although even besides that I think its visuals make for interesting viewing.

    The best take I'v seen is that its a representation of Robbe-Grillet's kind of meta novel, so its essential de construction of fiction. The hotel and all the supporting characters who start and stop like automatons are literary devices and the protagonist the representation of the author. The story essentially becomes him trying to shift the female character from a shallow literary one into a real thinking person by inventing a past between them. Maybe also some general anti establishment tone to it as well with the hotel and its guests as as a representation of that and especially the womans husband and his obsession with winning his own game.

    Influence wise I think The Shining is the obvious one with the tracking shots down creepy hotel corridors plus indeed it follows the above in being rather meta of fiction/writing itself. Low budget cult horror Carnival of Souls made the year after as well I think very clearly draws on it plus it does have some similar idea to Groundhog Day with its constant repetition and attempts to win over a woman.
     
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  6. Yotsuya

    Yotsuya Purple Belt

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    This was one of the first art house movies I saw on big screen when I was 20 or so and I loved the experience back then. Just a dreamy flow of beautiful cinematography and cryptic dialogue. Ten+ years later I found it utterly pretentious and boring. Another 10+ years have gone by and I have a feeling that I might have patience for movie like this again.
     
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  7. Yotsuya

    Yotsuya Purple Belt

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    I enjoyed the first half a lot. All that disorienting luxury and the flow of generic encounters and slow focus on the couple and the statue. There was kind of tremendous climax of intercutting a bar scene with "flashbacks", but after that the movie got tedious. It seemed to run out of steam until the last sentence of the movie woke me up into nice Borgesian paradoxical hyperreality. Too bad that the latter half lacks the playfulness and cultural richness of the Argentinian magical realism it’s inspired by:
    Last Year in Marienbad has the heavy-handed stamp of self-importance by the French intelligentsia. I wonder what it would have looked like if it had been directed by some good old Pole emigrant like Polanski, Borowczyk or Zulavski or the Argentinian born Gaspar Noe. Still I kind of feel like taking another look with adjusted expectations.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
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  8. Yotsuya

    Yotsuya Purple Belt

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    2001 final sequence in baroque room with disconnecting editing comes to mind also.

    For me the biggest problem for really enjoying Last Year in Marienbad was, that A (the woman) was such a blank slate that X's (the man) obsession with her was a bit baffling, but this explains everything. Using cinema for this kind of stuff is an interesting idea.

    Btw, Nabokov had a lot of praise for Robbe-Grillet's Dans de Labyrinthe, so I've been meaning to read it. Nabokov's last novel Transparent Things was an ultimate metabook about this kind of creative project of bringing a character alive, but the story had so much going on and the characters were so rich for it that it didn't feel like an intellectual exercise at all.
     
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  9. Tufts

    Tufts Green Belt

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    LOL! This does not bode well for me!
     
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  10. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre President of the War Room Double Yellow Card

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    At least you tried?
     
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  11. HARRISON_3

    HARRISON_3 Gold Belt

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    Make sure you watch the theatrical version.

    It's the better version, IMHO
     
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  12. moreorless87

    moreorless87 Out To Lunch

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    I remember it was pretty popular as a bit of obtuse art piece back in the 90's, Blur lifted it for a video...



    Again though I do think there is some substance to it as well along the lines I mentioned. The scene with the female lead reacting to various things in her room towards the end seems like the dramatic centre to me when she starts to become self aware.
     
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  13. Yotsuya

    Yotsuya Purple Belt

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    Absolutely. It’s uniquely beautiful and mysterious movie.
     
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  14. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    Yeah... it took me several sittings to get through this one.

    What happens when you make a movie that deliberately ignores the space-time continium? Something pretty boring. Mostly it feels like people are just describing things. Its ambugiety for ambeguities sake, without saying anything poignant about ambigiuity.

    The Editor must have suffered a migrane cutting all these disperate pieces together.
     
  15. jei

    jei Danger Zone Admin Staff Member Forum Administrator

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    This film stopped me in my tracks as far as pushing through films in the club to catch back up goes. I had watched Above the Law but didn't post my thoughts because I got sidetracked before finishing them. This however, dragged things to a screeching halt. It's just...hard to get through. It's a mess, structurally and pretty much everywhere else. The only thing I found it had going for it was that I like to make nicknames for characters whose names I don't know - and no one had a name! If they did, I sure didn't catch one. But you know what the worst thing about this whole situation? @HenryFlower nominated this film and never even posted in the thread! When my week comes around, even though I'm usually late, at least I'll post in my thread eventually.

    Like europe1, I feel for the editor. However, the editor of this film was the director - I'm not saying that they were the same person, but the person responsible for putting this together was the director for editing this thing. The confusing nature of this was definitely boosted by the wacky score that was way too loud at times, which was enjoyable to me but I can imagine others haaaaating it. They were injecting the sound of almost abject terror into this piece.

    Characters starting and stopping when we focused on one story felt uncomfortably strange to me, like they were all in a play waiting on stage until their time came around. Is this the precursor to Westworld? Are all the people in the hotel robots waiting to be interacted with?

    If I spoke French fluently (I'm barely conversational) then maybe I could get into this, but having to read subtitles while an unstable narrative plays before me, it's a tough sell. Maybe I don't have the patience for it right now, but considering how much I enjoyed films like Stalker and Persona, I guess not every unconventional storytelling style hits for me.

    The mystique about it intrigues me, but since everything has to be explained, it just doesn't land. I try to tell the characters apart but when we jump back and forth so much, I lose track. Which man or woman should we care about? Neither? Ok, cool.

    There was a game I used to play as a kid called The Secret Island of Dr. Quandary, and one of the many games contained within was a version of Nim, where you had to take records instead of matchsticks or dominoes. That takes me back. I learned a lot from that game. But the fact that my mind wanders back to that tells me this isn't keeping my attention worth a flip.

    You know what one of the tough parts about watching this is? I don't know if I have a firm enough grasp on it to give you a synopsis. A man believes he met and fell in love with a woman before, and the woman is not so sure about that. Is that it? All the while, another man constantly stares down and one-ups the first man at every turn. Who is the other man? The woman's jealous husband or lover? Another man who simply harbors affections for her? Someone who, plot twist, actually longs for the man? I don't know, and that bothers me. I can't even tell who the characters are. And then just when we try to get a handle on some of them, one of them dies (or does she?). Was it proto-Scrubs daydreaming cutaways? What actually happened, and what did they just imagine happening? I don't know.

    Nim/10. Some might have loved this, but it doesn't look like many in the club were fond of it, myself included.
     
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  16. jei

    jei Danger Zone Admin Staff Member Forum Administrator

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    Oh, and I meant to post this too. Hulu might be the worst.

    i don't understand hulu.png
     
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  17. HenryFlower

    HenryFlower (sheesh!)

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    i know i know, i'm way behind right now.
    [​IMG]

    I personally consider this film a
    [​IMG]
    MASTUHPIECE!

    so expect my thoughts & analysis/appropriation of other's analysis this weekend since i finally have a free Friday & Saturday all to myself & free from distraction (before UFC 241 at least). @europe1 reached out to me & i let him know that he can put me on SMC probation if my inactivity continues.
     
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  18. Bullitt68

    Bullitt68 Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    @HenryFlower, like or quote this post or something so that tomorrow I have a notification to serve as a reminder to come back in here for a proper post about this. I just watched it but it's now after 1:00 AM and I'm too tired to do a proper write-up. But I won't be a total asshole and leave you in the dark, so I'll take the pleasure of saying "I told you so" and tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed this.

    And @Zer, weren't you the one who was telling me that @MusterX's upcoming poll pick The Tenant was a huge influence on Kubrick and The Shining? Well, shit, if there's a single film that could be held up as having had the greatest influence on Kubrick, and not just on The Shining (though that one in particular) but also on 2001, Barry Lyndon, and Eyes Wide Shut, it's Last Year at Marienbad.

    And then what do you think Henry? Had Christopher Nolan really not seen this before he made Inception? If he's not bullshitting, then that's some creepy ass cinematic alchemy.

    Ok, time for bed. To be continued...

    P.S. Delphine Seyrig was a fucking smokeshow.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. HenryFlower

    HenryFlower (sheesh!)

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    [​IMG]
    just when i thought i had you figured out. you've always given me the impression that narrative takes precedence over all else, so color me shocked that you vibed w/ a film that very much favors form over story.

    Nolan said he never saw Last Year at Marienbad? really? well i see your Inception & raise you Memento. am i/are we just crazy to see Marienbad's greasy fingerprints all over those films?
     
  20. Yotsuya

    Yotsuya Purple Belt

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    I also think that there's a ton lost at least for me when reading the subtitles instead of understanding the dialogue when watching this movie.

    I consider The Shining a perfect movie except for the ending, which I hate. Getting lost inside a labyrinth is such an obvious metaphor and yet visually boring winter wonderland suspense premise, that it somewhat ruins the movie for me. Pretty much every scene inside the mazelike hotel was more interesting than the climax. Last Year in Marienbad’s ending did basically the same idea with style. There’s a nocturnal shot zooming out of the hotel exterior while the man ends his ramblings with a prophesy of the couple getting lost in some sort of invisible mental maze on the grounds.

    Btw, I got my hands on Finnish copy of Casares’ La Invencion de Morel. It's supposed to be the only story of the Borges' school of magical realism that deals with cinema.
     

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