In the baroque hallways and outdoor gardens of a lavish chateau, a man (Albertazzi) tries to convince an elegant French beauty (Seyrig) of an almost impossible truth: that they had a passionate affair one year ago, and have agreed to meet again. She has no memory of this insistent stranger, and he isn’t clear on all the details, but as their tete-a-tete continues, the transition between reality and fantasy becomes apparent to both.
A luxuriantly stylish, almost uncannily hypnotic drama, Resnais’s groundbreaking “Marienbad” (written by novelist Alain Robbe-Grillet) plays a kind of cinematic game with the viewer, loading Albertazzi and the foxy, Chanel-clad Seyrig with an air of mystery and attraction-repulsion that’s at once sexy, puzzling, and thoroughly enthralling. “Marienbad” is ultimately concerned with time, memory, and identity. You may not come away with all the answers — do these characters know each other or not, do they even live in the same era? — but you will certainly feel enriched for having experienced its potent, spellbinding magic.