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Five participants successfully finished five-week long Film Criticism workshop mentored by Jonathan Rosenbaum: Daria Blažević, Matija Krstičević, Nikola Radić, Višnja Vukašinović and Vida Zelić. The films they wrote about were Last Year at Marienbad (1961) directed by Alain Resnais, Rio Bravo (1959) directed by Howard Hawks, Enchanted Desna (1964) directed by Yuliya Solntseva, and Rear Window (1954) by Alfred Hitchcock.

Jonathan  wrote his impressions about the workshop on his website:

Even though not all of the seven students, located in different parts of Serbia and Croatia, made it to the end of the workshop – which was conducted via emails shared by everyone before our 105-minute “in-person” gathering  — I told the five who made it through that they were the brightest reviewers I’ve ever been lucky enough to teach, even though the English they wrote in was their second language. 

We are sharing with you one review of each participant by their choice. You can read other reviews here: Daria, Nikola, Višnja, Vida

22nd of March 2021

Last Year At Marienbad (1961), Alain Resnais

Matija Krstičević

It’s a film that leaves us with a lot of questions, but it only revolves around one: Did a man and a woman really met last year?

At the very beginning we see beautifully composed shots of the hotel, with music in the background (composed by Francis Seyrig) accompanied by the calm voice of a men describing the space of the hotel. The sentences are repetitive and, although only descriptive in nature, they create an enigmatic atmosphere that remains consistent throughout the film. A man „X“ (Giorgio Albertazzi) meets a woman „A“ (Delphine Seyrig) at a hotel and tries to convince her that they met last year and arrange for them to meet again this year. While „X“ tries to persuade „A“ of their previous acquaintance he also questions the relationship between her and the other man „M“ (Sascha Pitoeff) who constantly beats „X“ in the game that he describes as a „game in which he never loses”. But is it really a „game“ if you can’t lose?

It’s impossible not to notice almost constant camera movement, which continuously seem about to reveal an important motive, but always leave us with one question more. In a similar manner, „X“’s poetic narration and his calm voice seems to hypnotize the audience. Suddenly it feels as if there’s unrevealed thoughts behind the spoken words that are reconstructing last year’s events and there’s more going on. Only briefly (but fortunately) Resnais gives us short moments of silence to think about what we are seeing and hearing.

There’s unconventional editing where „A“ goes to a bed four times in a row or see extremely short predominantly white shots of a woman ih her bedroom interjecting with a cafe scene. This reminded me of Peter Kubelka’s „Arnulf Rainer“ (1960) by giving a clear experimental touch to this film.

For sure, no matter what ever your impressions of the film are, you won’t be like „X” and forget about it.

Rad Kino kluba Split podržavaju Hrvatski audiovizualni centar, Društvo hrvatskih filmskih redatelja, Grad Split i Zaklada Kultura nova. Voditeljica programa je Sunčica Fradelić.