Monday, February 25, 2008


This is my reply to Jesse in my English-only blog:

--Jesse, I think that your review on LA BELLE CAPTIVE is useful in way. I think at least it is a warning that anyone who has never watched any films by Robbe-Grillet should start with other films beside LA BELLE CAPTIVE.

Though I give LA BELLE CAPTIVE “A+”, I am also a little bit disappointed with it. But for me, I’m disappointed with it only when I compare it to other films by Robbe-Grillet, not when I compare it with films by other directors.

--At first I was also disappointed after I had finished reading RECOLLECTIONS OF THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE. But the disappointment rapidly turned into a new kind of pleasure. I read this novel when I didn’t know much about Robbe-Grillet’s styles. So when I was reading it, I expected that all the mysteries or puzzles would be solved in the end. I expected that I would understand everything in the final chapter of the book. But I found nothing like that in the end. No mysteries are solved. The novel seems to end with no conclusion. At first I felt disappointed. Then I realized that is Robbe-Grillet’s intention. My disappointment was not the result of Robbe-Grillet’s writing. It was the result of my wrong expectations. Robbe-Grillet’s novel changed me and changed my expectation when I read a book or watch a film.

Speaking of a novel with unsolved mysteries and without conclusion, I just remember that I once saw a short documentary interviewing Robbe-Grillet about his opinion on Michelangelo Antonioni. Robbe-Grillet seems to like Antonioni very much. It is not surprising. Antonioni created a new way of making films by directing L’AVVENTURA, a film with an unsolved mystery. Robbe-Grillet’s films and novels also show evidently the love of unsolved mysteries.

--Speaking of LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, I would like to add some information about this film here:

1.Dan Sallitt wrote about how to win the game in LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD in his blog:

2.Lynn A. Higgins wrote a great article on LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD in her book called NEW NOVEL, NEW WAVE, NEW POLITICS: FICTION AND THE REPRESENTATION OF HISTORY IN POSTWAR FRANCE (1998). Her article gave me a new thought on LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD. She wrote about the rape which is in the story of the film, but is not shown directly in the film.

This is a quote from the book:

“Missing links, ironic reversals, and displacements to an “elsewhere” are the rhetorical strategies that keep the rape in MARIENBAD from being immediately apparent. For X they serve the functions of an alibi in its etymological sense: he desperately and repeatedly turns the discussion to a “formerly” and an “elsewhere”—last year, perhaps in Frederiksbad or Baden-Salsa. He also emplots the description of what happened (or is happening) in the mode of a love story. To the extent that his voice is the film’s (as in his opening question, “Are you coming?”, and his injunctions to “Follow me, please”, ostensibly addressed to A but encompassing the spectators), the fact that many stories are possible works to his advantage. But the film also works against him: his love story is full of holes, through which peek fragments of another tale that is its mirror opposite. In this light, MARIENBAD is the scene of a conflict or tug of war between its protagonist, who wants to turn the viewer’s attention to another time, place, and story, and the film medium, which shows the here and now. Rape in MARIENBAD is neither remembered nor forgotten. Rather, it is shown. Although it is not described, it is nevertheless inscribed. But as in a screen memory, it is rendered incomprehensible because it is fragmented and scattered about the film in inconsequential details, leaving a hole in the center.”

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