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Memories of "Marienbad"

Posted at 5:05 PM on January 14, 2008 by Euan Kerr

The news that "Last Year at Marienbad" is returning to screens in New York brought a smile of delight to my face.

It's the movie that epitomizes everything that is right, and everything that is wrong with European cinema of the time. It's deliberately opaque and confusing, and just right for musing about over your espresso as you make sure your beret is set at its best jaunty angle. It's infurating (that's the bad part,) but it spurred a million move conversations, (that's the good.)

Way back in the late 70's while I was still in high school, we managed to rent a print to show at the Film Club. After hinting heavily to our classmates that being a French film it was bound to be replete with risque scenes, we sat back and watched the crowd flow in.

Of course what they got was existential angst, and most of the folk were quite disappointed. We told the folk who complained that they should just be grateful for having experienced great film.

Boy, were we ever pretentious.

Then a few weeks later we brought in "Where Eagles Dare" and all was forgiven.

Here's a sample of the Renais film:

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