Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Last Year at Marienbad

Some of the main themes of this film are perception, memory, and a concept of "truth." I found it to be somewhat similar to Hiroshima Mon Amour in that there did not seem to be a strong, clear-cut plot with a traditional rising/falling action and climax. It instead seemed more concerned with revealing itself slowly and carefully in a way that supported the dense, mysterious feeling of the film.
The acting in the film was purposely flat, with the main characters showing little emotion. This aspect of the film also reminded me of Hiroshima Mon Amour. This lack of emotion suggests that Resnais wants the viewer to focus on other aspects of the film instead of getting attached to the characters personal identities. For example, Resnais wants us to focus on the hotel and its eerie feeling and its potential meaning, or the idea that the hotel/setting may also be a character in itself that is more important than the individual people. This idea is supported by the fact that Resnais spends much time filming the elaborate corridors and rooms of the hotel, as well as the exterior, not always with any people in the shots.
I found this film to be very beautifully shot. Resnais use of symmetry was very aesthetically pleasing and precise. He also played with the exposure of some of his shots for an interesting effect. For example, going from one extremely over-exposed shot of the main woman in the film to a shot of the garden outside of the hotel at dusk. It is this kind of contrast that makes the film so memorable and striking. Resnais use of repetition in the film emphasizes the idea that there could have been multiple outcomes to the story being told.

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