Not just a defining work of the French New Wave but one of the great, lasting mysteries of modern art, Alain Resnais’ epochal “Last Year at Marienbad” has been puzzling appreciative viewers for decades. Written by Alain Robbe-Grillet, the radical master of the Nouveau Roman (New Novel), this surreal fever dream, or nightmare, gorgeously fuses the past with the present. The film tells the deliberately ambiguous story of a man and a woman (Giorgio Albertazzi and Delphine Seyrig) who may or may not have met a year ago, perhaps at the very same cathedral-like, mirror-filled château they now find themselves wandering. Unforgettable in both its confounding details (gilded ceilings, diabolical parlor games, a loaded gun) and haunting scope, Resnais’ investigation into the nature of memory is simultaneously disturbing and romantic.
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Robert Garrick, attorney, board member of the French-preservation nonprofit Les Amis.