Mary Rose Cook's notebook

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Last Year at Marienbad

This film had interesting themes. Collaborating on constructing the story of a time you shared with someone else. What it means to be a writer allowed to make up a story out of nowhere. The possibility for multiple, equally credible interpretations of a piece of art. The different ways your current self can inhabit your memories as you examine them: by acting differently, or saying different words, or changing what other people say or do.

Unfortunately, the way the film was constructed was so over-bearing, it was impossible to surrender to it. The insistent man: first nagging, then hectoring. The evasive apathy of the woman. The paused tableaus. The non-linear cuts. The repeated reformulations and reinterpretations of statements and events. It all served the themes, but the overall effect was of a dream. And dreams are boring because they make no sense. I wished the film had explored the same ideas, but in a simple, down-to-earth story.

My favourite part was the formalism of the garden mirrored the formalism of the film’s representations of people:

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