“You’re raving, I’m tired, Leave me alone, please”
When I watched this movie I just could not seem to shake the feeling it gave me off and I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be awhile.
Last Year at Marienbad is French/Italian movie by Hiroshima, Mon Amour director, Alain Resnais and written by Alain Robbe-Grillet. The main characters are The Man, The Woman and The second Man played by Giorgio Albertazzi, Delphine Seyrig and Sacha Pitoeff. The movie deals with subjects like dream-like state, repetition, loops and surrealism, in a way it reminded me so much of Maya Deren‘s (1943) experimental short film Meshes of the Afternoon dealing with the same subjects and also one of my favorite movies that I have seen lately.
Aside from the stunning cinematography, the haunting opening and ending scenes, and the great performances, the actual shooting of this movie is pretty artistic and interesting, the real Marienbad is located in Czech Republic and the director brilliantly blended two different palace complexes in and around Munich resulting in a beautiful goth like environment and an absolutely atmospheric imagery.
This one of those movies were anyone can watch it and interpret it differently and there won’t be a real incorrect inputs, but I’d like to share my take on it;
For me this movie is like a bizarre portrait of depression, that of which is being played in a literal form by Giorgio Albertazzi. The repetition of the dialogue and imagery gives the sensation of being trapped and stuck in a state that only ends to start all over again.
One thing I noticed is that he is always following Delphine Seyrig around, not only in the sense of him putting ideas in her head, never responding to her constant begging to be left alone, but he was literally always one step behind her when moving, he is never walking beside her, he is always crawling behind until the very last scene, when he succeeds in making her “go away with him” and leaving her conveniently barely even around , unaware of her struggle loved one behind, who, strangely enough, never seem to notice that she spends most of her time with Albertazzi. There’s this one scene where he approaches her whilst having a convesation with The Man and doesn’t even acknowledge him.
The hotel seems to be full of people but she is always alone, and they are a few scenes where they are suddenly frozen, one in the first opening scene an a couple later on, if you are familiar with depression symptoms you will know that it affects your sense of time, where time somehow feel like it’s slowing down or standing still/freezing.
It also affects the way one connect with another human being, to her they are almost robotics, we never see her engaging in any sort of games or conversations with any of those guests, she is alienated and only has one voice in her head, even when she cries for help in front of them hoping someone would notice her, nothing really seem to change.
There is also a key scene that might be a clue that she’s been suffering/fighting depression for a long time, the scene is where she opens a drawer and finds a significant number of pictures of her, and it happens to be the exact same picture that the man gave her, which indicates that he’s given her the picture before, many times because depression is always the same.
I think the references of the last year spent in that place was to foreshadow a traumatizing event, betrayal, or even guilt of some sort that took place sometime ago which is actually briefly hinted for in a scene of a play that was acted out at Marienbad where we see sequence of flashbacks that had to do with a sexual abuse incident.
“You never seem to be waiting for me, but we kept meeting at every turn of the paths. Behind every bush, at the foot of each statue, near every pond. It is as if it had been only you and I in all that garden.”
The movie is titled Last Year at Marienbad, and since we already know she’s been there few times, and she’s been suffering from depression for years, what if in the same way that The Man is depression, Marienbad is life? What if the last scene where she is walking into darkness with The Man is actually her committing suicide? What if the Last Year in Marienbad is her last year being alive?
I am not really sure of my analysis and it really doesn’t matter if it’s what’s intended but that’s what felt during this experience, such an amazing piece of art.