BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge #76: Last Year at Marienbad, by Sarah Brinks
I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 list has a good number of films I hadn’t seen before so it is a good source for my challenge.
It took me a little time to get used to watching Last Year at Marienbad. The chateau where the film takes place seems to exist outside of normal time and space. People freeze in the middle of conversations, or seemingly change places in a room without moving. And it always seems to be the same time of day throughout the film. It is always evening. Everyone is in tuxedos, suits, and gowns. They are always drinking, dancing, and playing cards. Once I settled into the rhythm of the film, I began to enjoy it.
Giorgio Albertazzi’s performance as the Man is mesmerizing. He is intense and handsome and you can understand why the Woman played by Delphine Seyrig allows him to spend so much time convincing her of their affair a year ago. The more of his story you hear, the more you want hear and the more you believe it.
The mystery of the film is whether or not the affair really happened, and of course we never find out. As I watched the film my opinion changed. At first I thought he was wrong or had made the affair up, but as the film went on I became more convinced that it had happened. You see how the Woman and her husband interact; they don’t seem very in love and she seems quite taken with the Man. There is also something about the level of persistence that the Man maintains to convince her.
It was a strange film but it really drew me in and I’m glad I have finally seen Last Year at Marienbad.
I’ve decided to rate each film using an arbitrary scale based on the board game Battleship (lowest: Destroyer, Submarine, Cruiser, Battleship, highest: Carrier)
Last Year at Marienbad ranking: Battleship