L'année dernière à Marienbad (book review) Alain Robbe-Grillet

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

300419: great. remember reading it in english when 18 or 19, finally seeing the film in montreal at 24. but it is this cine-roman that came first. pics from film, some, but most is r-g describing images, not screenplay, not novel, with fine, repeated, gestures and architectural details. again very good for increasing my vocabulary in french. i remember liking, still do, here in french, the objective description of what is shown onscreen, heard or not heard, on screen or not, and this, along with ‘jealousy’ convince me there is another way to offer dreams otherwise known as literature. images built on images. non-technical language, consistent voice, tells the viewer what there is and nothing more. gestures, poses, images etc all again and again...


as far as reading it in french, the images are not as singularly expressive as comics/band desinee, the language remains clear and unemotional, even as the desire, memory, anxiety of the woman A, desire, intensity, desperation, of the man X, the coldness, resignation, sadness, of the husband M, becomes more and more, plus et plus, douce, violente, impolie ou agressif, ici ou la, lentement, drole, avec sourir mince, comme quel que chose, plus ou moins, cote a cote, trois quarte arriere, en profil ... etc. all those common qualifications i enjoy translating as i read but do not necessarily remember now... i enjoy reading this again and again. as in english translation i love repetition with subtle differences for these mean so much more to me... now i must watch the film again....


and of course... can you really not remember your promise, last year at marienbad?


watched movie again and was surprised, possibly because it is such powerful art object in my experience, possibly because i know what is coming... surprised: it seems shorter than remembered! still loved it, one of my favorite avant-garde art-films...

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