“All the memory of the world”. Twenty minute short on the French National Library. The long middle section is a class-filmstrip-type movie in that it tours the facility and shows how everything works, but with the gliding hallway cameras and poetic narration of a Resnais or Marker film. Posits the library as man’s collective memory, sort of like the library in that guy’s head in Dreamcatcher. Credits say “with the collaboration of… Chris and Magic Marker” and Agnes Varda, among many others. At the end, after comparing people to insects, over a shot of a hundred library visitors reading the books they’ve selected, it closes: “Astrophysics, physiology, theology, taxonomy, philology, cosmology, mechanics, logic, poetics, technology. Here we catch a glimpse of a future in which all mysteries are resolved. A time when we are handed the keys to this and other universes. And this will come about because these readers, each working on his slice of universal memory, will lay the fragments of a single secret end to end, a secret with a beautiful name, a secret called happiness.” Nice little movie.

Chris Marker’s book:
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Hiding in the stacks, a guard attacks:
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“L’Annee derniere a Marienbad.” “Rarely has a film been more talked about since its release in 1961. Whether considered a pretentious chore or an aesthetic revolution, this is one of the few truly mythic films in the history of cinema” – Luc Lagier

I rewatched the movie, checked out the documentary by Luc Lagier and the introduction by Ginette Vincendeau on the DVD, and read author Alain Robbe-Grillet’s introduction to the book. Two of the three say that there are two ways of appreciating the film… analyzing the hell out of it, or simply letting the images flow over you and getting lost in it. Never being too big on analysis, of course I prefer the latter.

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Mr. X approaches Mrs. A and tells her they had an affair last year, which she doesn’t remember. He gradually convinces her, while her husband Mr. M lurks behind, playing games with other guests. The whole movie’s a game or a maze, with unannounced flashbacks, false memories, repetition, and breaks in time and space.

Lots of different interpretations mentioned in the DVD features. X is doomed to repeat this day a hundred times and this is the first time he’s convinced A of his scheme and broken out of the loop (kinda star trek / groundhog day). X and A are aping the play they see at the start of the movie. X is aware that he’s an actor in a film, and is using A to break out of the film. The Shining is a virtual remake of the movie. The movie is a virtual remake of North By Northwest.

Could that be Alfred Hitchcock on the right?!
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Katy jumped ship before half the movie was over. Can’t blame her – she didn’t know what she was in for, and it’s rough if you’re trying to follow the plot.

Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum) was an assistant. No Chris Marker involvement, but maybe I can use his proxy appearance in “Tout la memoire du monde” to kick off my oft-delayed Marker fest.

As for Last Year At Marienbad, I appreciate all the theories and discussion, but most importantly it’s a beautiful movie and should be seen again and again and again and…

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