Monday, June 16, 2008

come again?

Here's a review I read on IMDb about Last Year at Marienbad, a crazy french film from the 60's that Tabitha and I watched about a month ago in a neat vintage theater here:

"So - Last Year At Marienbad, in a nutshell, assume French Accent:

Verse 1: Man: I know you. Woman: You do not know me. Man: We were here. Woman: I was never here. Chorus: Man: Long strange monologue about the place that they are at, Marienbad. And how he has been here before and how she has been here before. Camera: panning about the ornate Marienbad mansion. Verse 2: (repeat verse 1 - add very interesting game of pick-up sticks) Chorus repeat verses 1 & 2

I think everyone should see this film. I don't know why. I have seen it numerous times. No, I have never seen it. Yes, I saw it last year! No, last year I did not see it. Yes, I saw it here, with me. Wait, I'm alone. Who am I talking to?"

Yep, that's pretty much it. But as inane and weird as that sounds, I totally recommend it. Don't try to understand, because it doesn't make any sense really... But it's beautiful to watch, and it's fascinating because of what it says about memory. The whole movie is essentially this man trying to convince this woman that they had a passionate affair the year before in the same hotel. Except maybe they didn't. Or maybe he raped her. Or maybe they've never met. Or maybe they did. But what ends up happening is that almost identical scenes are shown over and over, but each time they're a little different and eventually it becomes clear that even the man is not able to exactly remember what happened. It's cool, and it made me think a lot about how flexible memory is. If you're interested (or even if you're not, really) you should read my much more articulate friend Raquel's meditation on this classic film here.

No comments: