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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 30 September 2016
If you like patting yourself on the back for being a cineaste, then Alain Resnais’s Last Year at Marienbad (1961) is for you.

The narrative’s only certainty, is, there are three characters: A (Delphine Seyrig), X (Giorgio Albertazzi) our narrator, and M (Sacha Pitoëff). What happens after that is unfathomable. At a lush mansion, X is trying to convince A they’ve met before, a year ago in Marienbad, and had an affair. A either doesn’t remember, doesn’t want to remember, or it never happened... Or it isn’t happening now.

This film felt like reading Virginia Woolf, I don’t understand a lot of it, yet I’ve exercised my mind. Is it entertaining? That’s a difficult question to answer, but probably no. Is it enjoyable? Yes!

The craft of filmmaking is at the highest level. Set design as lush as any court of a French King; costumes designed by Bernard Evein are slick, elegant and chic, as would be expected in a French film; Sacha Vierny’s cinematography is as crisp as spring; and all actors show the greatest non-reacting acting. It’s the innovative script by Alain Robbe-Grillet that makes this film high cinema: story and plot are deliberately fragmented, giving the overall narrative a deliciously confusing tone.

To compare it would be like trying to find something that rhymes with orange. But watching it reminded me of other films later on that, although I can’t be certain, might have been influenced: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980), and Eyes Wide Shut (1999).

I admired and adored Last Year at Marienbad. If you want something different to flex your brain power, then give this a try.
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on 18 June 2017
Wonderfully bizarre film about the nature of reality. Great camera action.
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on 2 February 2008
Wont comment on the film itself, which has inspired learned articles and theses in its day and up to now.

But this edition of the film is appalling, because of the subtitles, which detract from the action for three reasons:

-They are too big, and at times actually hide the action as when they completely obscure the table on which a game is being played.

-They are sometimes inaccurate or incomplete.

-But last and worse, unlike the subtitles on most civilised DVDs, THESE CANNOT BE TURNED OFF !

Had this been made clear in the description of the DVD I would certainly have refrained from buying this item, and avoided the film-long frustration caused by the ******* subtitles.
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on 7 September 2016
The subtitles on this film are atrocious. Not only are they unnecessarily large, inaccurate and printed across the film, rather than underneath where there is plenty of space because of the widescreen format of this film, but...you cannot remove them. They deface the picture if you rely on them and if you want to try to do without them, well, you can't. It makes a particular difference to this film since a lot of the atmosphere is conveyed by the soundtrack and by a narrator who comes and goes unexpectedly at times and who also speaks with variable volume (as if he was "a voice heard in the head" of the main character, rather than an openly public narrator). This edition of the film is offensive - as if someone who had been asked to restore a work of art had actually damaged it in the process (perhaps Mr Bean was responsible!).
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on 20 April 2013
Amazon has amalgamated reviews for five different versions. Some have removable subtitles, others not. Here's the situation, for those interested. Listed in order of issue.

Fox Lorber - Subtitles can be switched off. Region 0.
Optimum Home Entertainment - Subtitles NOT removable. Region 2
Criterion - Subtitles can be switched off. Region 1
Blu-Ray Criterion - Subtitles can be removed. Region A.
Blu-Ray Studio Canal - Subtitles can be switched off. (Multiple languages available) Region A+B (plays in UK).
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on 30 May 2008
A excellent film except for the English subtitles in the image area which disrupt the viewing experience. These cannot be defeated. I note that there is a French version without sub titles available on the Amazon web site in France and perhaps this should be listed on the UK site as long as it is made clear that there is no translation of the French dialogue. I am more interested in the photography for instance.
There used to be a version with subtitles under the image area, and many years ago I did tape this on SVHS from a TV showing, but unfotunately have since recorded over the tape.
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on 30 August 2015
To put it modestly: its probably only the greatest art film of all time. If you've not heard of it means you have no knowledge or interest in film as an art form. If you're only curious - don't bother as it will probably only bore or irritate you. The film makers expect the audience to have more
between their ears than the all important ability to order a pizza. :Like any great work pf art it can be viewed countless times and still appreciated. to see it the first couple of times is a real challenge to keep up with it At the time of its initial release, it gave the audience the belief that their was still hope for humanity. Since then of course it has proven that there is no hope. there is no chance whatsoever that film making could ever approach the brilliance displayed in this modest production. Anyone arrogant enough to criticize it should be sentenced to a constant diet of modern films - for that is all they deserve. Fortunately, most people won't come across it even accidentally since it requires the constant reading of subtitles. Personally, my only regret is that I do not know the French language well enough to do without them. In my
humble opinion their is no language more beautiful than French.
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on 9 June 2016
Well I thought I was able to appreciate artistic films.
However it transpires that I'm a Philistine.
I found this extremely vexing and patience testing.
Lots of navel gazing, redundant dialogue and repetition.
Oh well..... back to watching trash I suppose.... much preferred Delphine in "Daughters of Darkness"
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on 19 May 2015
Rather disappointing movie. More interesting for cinematographic history than for enjoyment. The mysterious story and the beautiful setting (actually not in Marienbad but in Bavaria) will have been convincing 50 years ago, but now the slow pace and the unbalanced sound make it outdated.
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on 6 October 2009
One of the most enigmatic movies of all times. It follows a man and woman in a strange circle of lies, deception and betrayal in an ever recurring sequence of acquaintances and dialogs. A picturesque riddle filmed in a splendid neverland composed of two Munich castles. Fascinating to see, but impossible to decipher.
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