The oldest film in this series, Last Year at Marienbad is a 1961 art-house classic by the French master, Alain Resnais (Hiroshima Mon Amour). In real life, Marienbad was a German spa town frequented by the ruling class and artists like Goethe and Wagner (but since WWII, has sat on the Czech side of the border).
In Resnais’ film it is a dreamy, timeless, place-less realm. Like the island in the ABC TV series, Lost, the characters seem to be in a feedback loop of back-to-the-future time warps. The lack of linear plot defies the mind’s imperative to order events with cause-and-effect certainty — a big reason this film leaves mainstream audiences squirming.
Unlike Lost, Resnais’ Marienbad has no violence; the fashionable, beautiful people are so lost in their elegant trappings it feels like they’ve gone to their own private heaven.
Karma points: Another Lost connection, Marienbad’s script is derived from a 1940 sci-fi novel set on an island, The Invention of Morel. English professor Thomas Beltzer explains:
It’s about a fugitive, Morel, hiding out alone on a deserted island who one day awakens to discover that the island is miraculously filled with anachronistically dressed people ‘who dance, stroll up and down, and swim in the pool, as if this were a summer resort like Los Teques or Marienbad’. It turns out that Morel’s invention is a diabolical holographic recording device that captures all of the senses in three dimensions.
NEXT: Being John Malkovich
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