This is entry #61 in our 100 Philosophers, 100 Artworks, 100 Words Series.
Philosopher: Rossen Ventzislavov, Woodbury University
Artwork: Last Year at Marienbad, 1961, directed by Alain Resnais
Words: “Last Year at Marienbad” is a cinematic argument for the inscrutability of thought. In the radical absence of plot, actions barely animate the succession of mysterious dioramas. The film’s cold aesthetic appeal—its rhythm of architectural and sartorial chiaroscuro—suggests relationships beyond the visible. But what does it all amount to? If this were merely an elaborate exercise in style, why would it leave the impression that it hides so much? And if it had a deeper meaning, why would it remain so persistently unavailable? What if logic could completely dissolve in the seduction of a cognitive impasse?