(aka "L'Année dernière à Marienbad" or "L'Anno scorso a Marienbad" or "Last Year in Marienbad")

 

directed by Alain Resnais
France 1961

Not just a defining work of the French New Wave but one of the great, lasting mysteries of modern art, Alain Resnais’ epochal Last Year at Marienbad (L’année dernière à Marienbad) has been puzzling appreciative viewers for decades. Written by radical master of the New Novel Alain Robbe-Grillet, this surreal fever dream, or nightmare, gorgeously fuses the past with the present in telling its ambiguous tale of a man and a woman (Giorgio Albertazzi and Delphine Seyrig) who may or may not have met a year ago, perhaps at the very same cathedral-like, mirror-filled château they now find themselves wandering. Unforgettable in both its confounding details (gilded ceilings, diabolical parlor games, a loaded gun) and haunting scope, Resnais’ investigation into the nature of memory is disturbing, romantic, and maybe even a ghost story.

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 25th, 1961 - France

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

 

This is the MRQE Metric score and graph for this film. The graph works on a five-point scale, from A – F. The MRQE Metric is the weighted average of a full breakdown of critical grades.

DVD Comparison:

Fox / Lorber (Out Of Print) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Optimum - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the PAL Screen Caps!

1) Fox / Lorber (Out Of Print) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

  

Distribution

Fox / Lorber

Region 0 - NTSC

Optimum
Region 2 - PAL
Criterion Collection Spine #478
Region 1 - NTSC
Criterion Collection Spine #478
Region
'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:29.33 1:30:00 (4% PAL speedup) 1:34:33 1:34:43.511
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.29 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.40 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.64 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,226,897,591 bytes

Feature: 29,234,737,152 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Video Bitrate: 34.61 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Fox / Lorber (Out Of Print)

 

Bitrate:

 

Optimum

 

Bitrate:

 

Criterion

Bitrate:

 

Criterion Blu-ray

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital French 2.0 Dolby Digital French 1.0 Dolby Digital French (restored and optional original)

LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English, None English (fixed) English, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Fox / Lorber

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Filmographies of Delphine Seyrig and Giorgio Abertazzi
• Awards

DVD Release Date: October 28, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 9
 

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Introduction by Ginette Vincendeau (18:40 / 16x9)
• Documentary: Dans le Labyrinthe de Marienbad (33:20 / 16x9)
• Toute la Mémoire du Monde (20:55 / 4:3)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (3:30 / 16x9)
 

DVD Release Date: May 23, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 17

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Alain Resnais
• New audio interview with Resnais (33:03)
• New documentary on the making of Last Year at Marienbad, featuring interviews with many of Resnais’ collaborators (32;36)
• New video interview with film scholar Ginette Vincendeau on the history of the film and its many mysteries (23:00)
• Two short documentaries by Resnais: Toute la mémoire du monde (1956 - 20:57) and Le chant du styrène (1958 - 13:40 16x9)
• Theatrical trailerS (5:43)
• Optional original, unrestored French soundtrack
• 46-page booklet featuring essays by critic Mark Polizzotti and film scholar François Thomas, and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s introduction to the published screenplay and comments on the film
 

DVD Release Date: June 23rd, 2009
Custom Case

Chapters 22

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,226,897,591 bytes

Feature: 29,234,737,152 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Video Bitrate: 34.61 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Alain Resnais
• New audio interview with Resnais (33:03)
• New documentary on the making of Last Year at Marienbad, featuring interviews with many of Resnais’ collaborators (32:37 in HD!)
• New video interview with film scholar Ginette Vincendeau on the history of the film and its many mysteries (23:02 in HD!)
• Two short documentaries by Resnais: Toute la mémoire du monde (1956 - 20:57in HD!) and Le chant du styrène (1958 - 13:40 in HD!)
• Theatrical trailerS (3:33in HD!)

• Optional original, unrestored French soundtrack
• 46-page booklet featuring essays by critic Mark Polizzotti and film scholar François Thomas, and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s introduction to the published screenplay and comments on the film
 

Blu-ray Release Date: June 23rd, 2009
Custom Blu-ray Case

Chapters 22

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - June 09': I'm very happy to report that detail and contrast are notably improved in the high-definition rendering of Criterion's Last Year at Marienbad. This may be the most dramatic difference from a simultaneously released Criterion DVD to it's Blu-ray counterpart that I've seen.  Every visual facet seems superior. The Criterion DVD does indeed have some green seeping in and is somewhat darker at times (both easier to note in side-by-side comparison). The precise framing and beauty of the film looks just magnificent on this Blu-ray. The improvement was readily noticeable on my system. I felt like I was watching the film in a theater. Some repaired damage marks still exist but they are significantly lighter. Grain is more apparent but blacks may not be quite as pitch in certain scenes. The SD-transfer looks glossier and the Blu-ray far more textured.

Like the DVD, audio on the Blu-ray includes the option for the restored and un-restored French tracks but they are both in linear PCM at 1100 kpbs - still flat mono - but a shade more resonant with some very discreet buoyancy (NOTE: I only watched with the 'restored').

Extras are duplicated on the DVD edition (discussed below) but video features are all in HD! The same 46-page booklet is included without exclusions. This Criterion Blu-ray takes up over 49 Gig of the available 50 and the company that sets the lofty mark for DVD production has continued its prowess in Blu-ray. Absolutely magnificent. This is a film you definitely want in 1080P! 

Gary Tooze

*****




 

 

ADDITION - Criterion - Region 1- NTSC June 09' - I'd like to reserve more specific comments on the image until we add the Criterion Blu-ray to this comparison. The Criterion DVD doesn't have the manipulation deficiencies of the Optimum and contrast looks strong. It appears hazier than the PAL edition but comparing the 1080P rendering should give us more information but it would be hard to critique the Criterion in which the 'transfer was supervised and approved by director Alain Resnais'.

Criterion gives the option of restored French audio or the original. Checking out both the differences do exist and the restoration is the way to go in my opinion. Criterion's English subtitles are, expectantly, removable.

Extras are stacked starting with trailers (original theatrical and Rialto's re-release trailer) on the feature disc. The second dual-layered DVD of supplements starts with a 1/2 hour new audio interview with Resnais conducted by film scholar Francois Thomas - author of L'atelier d'Alain Resnais - in 2008 for Criterion. It is 7 chapters in French with English subtitles on a backdrop of stills and some scenes from Last Year at Marienbad. Next is a new documentary on the making of Last Year at Marienbad, featuring interviews with many of Resnais’ collaborators including his assistant directors Jean Léon and Volker Schlöndorff, script girl Sylvette Baudrot and production designer Jacques Saulnier. It is entitled Unraveling the Enigma: The Making of Marienbad. There is a new video interview with film scholar Ginette Vincendeau on the history of the film and its many mysteries running 23-minutes. She discusses the various interpretations of the film and elucidates some of its mysteries. Criterion have included two short documentaries by Resnais: Toute la mémoire du monde (1956 - 20:57) and Le chant du styrène (1958 - 13:40 16x9) as well as a 46-page booklet featuring essays by critic Mark Polizzotti and film scholar François Thomas, and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s introduction to the published screenplay and comments on the film.

Obviously this is the definitive digital release of the film and we will compare Criterion's Blu-ray when we have the opportunity.

Gary Tooze

*****




 

Optimum
Besides minute colour banding, the image is flawless. Deep solid blacks, good contrast, good details. Simply a superb anamorphic image.

Two things are interesting versus Fox Lorber. One is, that as Optimum is PAL and as such has 4% PAL Speed-Up, Fox Lorber's approx equal duration suggests that it is a PAL to NTSC transfer. The other is that the Fox Lorber has approx 3% more image to the left, while Optimum has approx 3% more image to the right.

While Optimums subtitles are fixed, which always is a point of criticism, they are a pleasure to read. The translation is also different, here saying:

"In a few moments, it will freeze into a marble past. Like the statues in this garden of stone."

Not speaking French, I am unable to determine, which is the most accurate translation.

The additional material begin with a good and informative introduction by Professor Ginette Vincendeau, sitting in a cinema and talking about the films history and its interpretation.

Following this is the documentary "Dans le Labyrinthe de Marienbad" by French critic Luc Lagier, who discusses the films history, the collaboration between Renais and Robbe-Grillet, its structure, various interpretations and finally its legacy.

The last extra is the rare "Toute la Mémoire du Monde", a short film by Renais from 1956, a documentary about Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, where Renais portraits the building, with its processes of cataloguing and preserving all sorts of printed material, as both a monument of cultural memory and as a monstrous alien being.

 

Henrik Sylow

 


DVD Menus

(Fox / Lorber (Out Of Print) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

Criterion - DVD and Blu-ray extras

 

 

DVD Disc 2 (Blu-ray has all extras on on disc)

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

Screen Captures

 

1) Fox / Lorber (Out Of Print) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Subtitle sample (English only) - Can't get subtitle captures from Blu-ray yet!

 


 

1) Fox / Lorber (Out Of Print) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Fox / Lorber (Out Of Print) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Fox / Lorber (Out Of Print) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Fox / Lorber (Out Of Print) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Fox / Lorber (Out Of Print) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Fox / Lorber (Out Of Print) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


More Blu-ray captures

 

 

Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

The Films in My Life
by Francois Truffaut, Leonard Mayhew

French Cinema: A Student's Guide
by Philip Powrie, Keith Reader
Agnes Varda by Alison Smith Godard on Godard : Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson The Art of Cinema by Jean Cocteau French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno
French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present
by Remi Fournier Lanzoni

 

Check out more in "The Library"

 

DVD Box Covers

  

Distribution

Fox / Lorber

Region 0 - NTSC

Optimum
Region 2 - PAL
Criterion Collection Spine #478
Region 1 - NTSC
Criterion Collection Spine #478
Region
'A' - Blu-ray

Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Criterion Blu-ray

Sound:

Criterion Blu-ray

Extras: Criterion + Criterion Blu-ray
Menu: Criterion Blu-ray

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

Thank You!