Last Year In Marienbad

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Chris's film review of Last Year In Marienbad
Last Year In Marienbad
"" | Photo: Studiocanal

Surely Last Year In Marienbad has never looked better than it does in this 4K resolution restoration from the original negative. A film in which the depth of field and many shades of black and white are employed to their fullest - from the inky blacks to glossy floors and glistening tears to glittering jewellery, this is a work of restoration art that sparkles in more than one sense of the word. The sound as also been remastered from an original mix, so that everything from its whispering voices to eerie organ can be sharply heard.

In terms of the extras, much of what is included here was seen on the 2009 Optimum edition, including a thorough walk through the history and many of the theories surrounding the film by historian Ginette Vincendeau - who has become something of hallmark of quality on recent French classic releases from Studiocanal. Previously called an introduction and now referred to as an interview, I'd recommend watching it and the other extras here, except the shorts, after a viewing of the film, so that you can let your own imagination and theorising go where they take you the first time around.

Copy picture

Further suggested interpretations can be found in the 30-minute In The Labyrinth Of Marienbad - also a hold-over from the 2009 release - which not only considers the film on its own merits but also suggests links forward to The Shining and backwards to North By Northwest.

New to this edition is Resnail and Robbe-Grillet - The wanderers of imagination, a simple but charming 30-minute documentary, whose biggest asset is writer Robbe-Grillet's wife Catherine, before her death in 2008. She brings personal recollections of the film, in particular, highlighting the political storm around it back in 1961 - connected to Resnais and Robbe-Grillet's support for the Manifesto of the 121 which backed Algerian War conscientious objectors - that saw the film rejected by Cannes but accepted by Venice.

It's a shame that an interview with Resnais himself, previously included on the Criterion of 2009, doesn't make it over to this disc but there is the complete treat of two of his early documentaries - The Song Of Styrene and [film]All The Memory Of The World[/fiml]. Many of the filming techniques and philosophical ideas that are present in Marienbad have echoes in these excellent documentaries, which are well worth owning in their own right and have much more to offer than being simply for Resnais completists. A trailer completes the package, unless you opt for the Blu-ray, when you'll also get an additional documentary on Robbe-Grillet.

A film so enigmatic that you're likely to want to rewatch it multiple times, it's definitely worth splashing out on a physical copy.

Reviewed on: 18 Sep 2018
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Last Year In Marienbad packshot
A man tries to convince a woman that they had an affair the year before.
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Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35 : 1

Extras: Resnais And Robbe-Grillet - 'The wanderers of imagination’, Interview with Film Historian Ginette Vincendeau, The Styrene's Song, All The Memory Of The World, In the Labyrinth of Marienbad, restored trailer BD only: Documentary on Alain Robbe-Grillet

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