Last Year at Marienbad

Director Alain Resnais makes films, not movies

Exquisitely dressed by Coco Chanel herself, a character simply known as Woman (Delphine Seyrig) is pursued through the equally dazzling Nymphenburg castle in Bavaria by the equally nameless Man (Giorgio Albertazzi), trying as seductively as he can to persuade her that they have had a previous affair and that she should run away with him. They're the protagonists of Last Year at Marienbad (1961), Alain Resnais's maddeningly literate film - you'd never call this a movie. It's French new wave with a vengeance. Resnais was the smarty pants among Truffaut, Godard, Rohmer and Demi, and this classic is his doctoral thesis. Time is meaningless here as scenes collide out of continuity, and the very pretty people glide about as in a dream. Your brain spins wildly to make sense of this intricate puzzler, but once seen it is never forgotten. Alain Robbe-Grillet's original screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost to another foreign import, Divorce - Italian Style. Last Year at Marienbad is one in a seven-film series called Resnais: French Classics. Other films include The War Is Over, Je t'aime, Je t'aime and Mon Oncle d'Amérique. The series runs various times March 6 to March 28. Last Year at Marienbad screens today at 5 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For a full schedule, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org/films. Free to $7.
Sun., March 7, 5 p.m., 2010

 
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