26
Apr
10

A look into French Film: Part 2 of a 3-Part Series

Last Year in Marienbad:  Music Makes the Movie

Powerful and distinguishing music is utilized in Last Year in Marienbad to add a heaviness and mystery to the story.  In this film, loud, often hard-to-listen-to organ chords are played while the camera travels down a corridor.  This music plays every time the narrator is telling the audience another part of the story, and typically when he is describing the doors, the corridors, or the other scenery in the house.

The music in these scenes is eerie, and adds a mystery or cloudiness to the story.  Because the story, or lack thereof, is ambiguous in nature, the peculiar music just how unnatural the plot is becoming.

Other scenes throughout the film are interjected with harsh violin screeches or loud organ chords.  These sounds add powerfulness to the already poignant film by showing important transitions or cuts.

Last Year in Marienbad uses a very specific method of camera cuts to show past and present relationships and to further the strangeness of the plot.  Fast, frequent, jump-cuts are used to help narrator try to convince and the woman—and the audience—that they have met before.  While the narrator explains details of something from the past year, the camera cuts to that scene.  When he suddenly changes a detail from that narrative, the camera jumps back to that scene with the detail changed.  The camera cuts develop a relationship with the narrator.  Cutting to past events that may or may not have happened really strengthen the film’s dreamlike story.  These camera cutting techniques make the audience question whether the narrative is dream or reality.

Shots that are streaming or walking through a place are also utilized in a similar fashion.  At the beginning of the film, the camera travels along corridor after corridor, almost as if the audience themselves are ambling aimlessly through the hallways of this house.  As the narrator explains the scenery, often stating the same thing over and over again, the camera travels through the house just as monotonously.  Just like the narrator recites the details of the scene like a chant or mantra, the camera follows his voice, showing the things he is talking about.

To see a preview of Last Year in Marienbad, click here.

In The Last Year in Marienbad, shots that are streaming or walking through a place are also utilized in a similar fashion.  At the beginning of the film, the camera travels along corridor after corridor, almost as if the audience themselves are ambling aimlessly through the hallways of this house.  As the narrator explains the scenery, often stating the same thing over and over again, the camera travels through the house just as monotonously.  Just like the narrator recites the details of the scene like a chant or mantra, the camera follows his voice, showing the things he is talking about.

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