Different Year, Same 'Marienbad' When it came out in 1961, Alain Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad perplexed and excited audiences with its surrealistic storytelling. John Powers has a review of the film's Criterion Collection re-release.
NPR logo

Different Year, Same 'Marienbad'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/106224967/106226322" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Different Year, Same 'Marienbad'

Different Year, Same 'Marienbad'

Different Year, Same 'Marienbad'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/106224967/106226322" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Last Year at Marienbad is known for its dreamlike composition. In this shot, the human figures cast long shadows, but the topiaries do not. Courtesy of the Criterion Collection hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of the Criterion Collection

Last Year at Marienbad is known for its dreamlike composition. In this shot, the human figures cast long shadows, but the topiaries do not.

Courtesy of the Criterion Collection

Alain Resnais' completely unconventional film Last Year at Marienbad premiered in 1961, winning the Golden Lion at that year's Venice Film Festival. Its screenplay — written by Alain Robbe-Grillet from his novel of the same title — earned an Oscar nomination.

Constantly alluded to, and frequently parodied, the stylized film adheres to no conventional narrative structure. Film critic Pauline Kael labeled Marienbad an "aimless disaster," but it has since come to be regarded as a milestone in film history.

The Criterion Collection has re-released the film on DVD. John Powers has a review.