SPEECH MARKS / The things they said about . . . Last Year in Marienbad

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Last Year in Marienbad (1961), winner of the Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival, the French Film Critics Film of the Year, the International Critics' Andre Bazin Gold Medal and also considered to be one of the 50 Worst Movies of All Time. The film was re-released last Friday.

'It is not only a great victory for the French cinema, but an important date in the History of the Cinema.' Democratie.

'The characters are a variant of the undead of vampire movies . . . the film begins and ends 93 minutes later.' Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies.

'A work of art.' Dwight MacDonald, Esquire.

'Lifeless.' Hollis Alpert, Saturday Review.

'The first truly modern film.' Jean Louis Bory, Arts.

'So sterile . . . that interest drains long before France's young New Wave director concludes his camera's explorations.' Margaret Harford, LA Times.

'An experience full of beauty and mood.' Bosley Crowther, The New York Times.

'Infuriatingly cryptic.' Danny Peary, Cult Movie Stars.

'A lot of pseudo-artistic HOOEY.' Hazel Flynn, Hollywood Citizen-News.

'A shock for the imagination. That is all. And that is plenty.' Pierre Marcabru, Combat.

'As monotonously repetitious as a carousel. Its murky, shallow, love-triangle has been devitalised to the point of anaemia.' Jessie Zunson, Cue.

'A plunge into the human heart.' Maurice Ciantar, Paris Jour.

'Elaborate, ponderous and meaningless.' Newsweek.

'Resnais's cast acts excellently.' The Guardian.

'The three stars compete with one another do see who can do the best imitation of a talking corpse.' Harry Medved, The 50 Worst Movies of all Time.

'An essay on time and love.' Marcel Reguilhem, Reforme.

'The reels could be screened randomly without audiences being any the wiser.' David Shipman, The Good Film & Video Guide.

'Historians concerned with the Decline of the West would do well to glance at this . . . Resnais has forsworn the hard work artistic creation entails and has allowed his immature fumbling to be promoted by those who wish to convert Western culture into an irrational confusion.' Louise Corbin, Films in Review.

'One of the cinema's most haunting and erotic poems.' Bergen and Karney, Bloomsbury Foreign Film Guide.

'It's either some sort of masterpiece or meaningless twaddle.' Geoff Andrews, Time Out Guide.

(Photograph omitted)