Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

In Alain Resnais’ infamous art-house teaser, from a screenplay by Alain Robbe-Grillet, a male guest at a chateau claims he met a woman there the year before.

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Film details

Alternative titles

  • L' Année dernière à Marienbad Original French
  • Last Year in Marienbad Alternative
  • L' Anno scorso a Marienbad Alternative Italian


“A highly seductive parable about seduction, it oscillates ambiguously between past, present, and various conditional tenses, mixing memory and fantasy, fear and desire.”
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader, 1997

Following the international acclaim for Hiroshima mon amour (1959), scripted by Marguerite Duras, Alain Resnais returned with an enigmatic film puzzle that has had critics and audiences arguing over its meaning (or lack of) ever since.

Continuing his affiliation with experimental Nouveau Roman writers, Marienbad is based on a screenplay by Alain Robbe-Grillet about a man, ‘X’, who meets a woman, ‘A’, at a gathering at a grand chateau and attempts to convince her that they met the previous year, probably at Marienbad.

Featuring stately, gliding camera movements about the house and grounds, and a disconcerting fracturing of time which seems to collapse past and present, Resnais’ film weaves an intoxicatingly surreal atmosphere that comes as close as cinema has ever done to the logic of a dream.

The ghost of Marienbad lingers on in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980), a haunted hotel story in which the caretaker may have been there before.

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