Last Year at Marienbad & the Acceptance of Not Knowing

(A reflection I did for my Contemporary Film Theory class)

Last Year at Marienbad might be the 60’s, more magnified version of Lynch’s Mullholand Drive, in that it really is left for interpretation. Nothing is definite in the film. The main character, tries to remind the female lead that they met a year before, while she cannot recall any of this happening. He recalls a shooting happening but then correcting himself and changing how it happened. By the end we are uncertain about what to believe; did they have an affair, did they meet a year ago in Marienbad, did her husband know about it.

marienbad1

Last Year at Marienbad is a perfect example for what seems like the only thing Turvey and Rodowick agree on, which is that film theory lacks dialectical criticism. Film theory and society in general have trouble with accepting the idea of having no answers and treating that as an answer within itself. We can think of Marienbad as Charlie Kauffman in Adaptation, a writer/narrator deciding what happens, or we can think of it simply as a story about acceptance and denial. Whether it is this or that it does not change, completely uninterested and unaffected by what is applied to it.

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