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It's nearly impossible to write a review for this sort of movie. Not necessarily because it's such a complicated and hard to watch one but more because everybody will most likely interpret it differently and get something totally different out of this movie. It's something you really have to experience for yourself.

I can only say how I took and interpret this movie. You could best describe this movie as a mystery, drama, romance. All these three elements are clearly present and form the basis for this very visual orientated movie. The way I understood the story was that it was about a man, trying to seduce a woman, by putting a fake, very detailed, memory in her head of an earlier encounter. She starts to believe after a while that the two of them have truly met each other earlier, a year ago and slowly starts to fall for not just the story but also for the man. Appearantly this is also the explanation for the story that is often being given by the writer Alain Robbe-Grillet himself. But like I said, you could take and interpret the story your own way and there is not just one theory or explanation for all of it.

But the movie above all things still really remains a visual experience. There is a big difference between a pretentious and a true artistic movie. It's not anything you could really describe but more something that you will feel. And "L'année dernière à Marienbad" does feel like a true artistic movie! It's not just simply the directing approach that makes this movie something unique and powerful to watch but also the camera-work itself. People seem to forget that this is actually an 1961 movie, simply because it looks and also feels like a much older one. I don't know the technical details behind this movie but it seems to me as if they were truly using camera equipment from the '30's to get its great visual look. It's not just a black & white movie but a truly old fashioned black & white movie! Perhaps this is also due to the way it uses light and makeup on its actors.

It's a very subtle movie, with basically everything. It's subtly setting up and unraveling its story, subtle with is camera movements and subtle with its performances from its actors. It to me made this a very pleasant movie to watch, though I can understand that it's not just for everybody and it might bore a lot of the folks out there.

Just experience it for yourself and make up your own mind about it!

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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