Sunday, 20 November 2011


Among the enduring movies which reach their 50th anniversary this year is Alan Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad.

Last Year in Marienbad -
field placing the modernist way
It is celebrated for many factors - its enigmatic narrative structure, in which the actual and the imagined are hard to distinguish, and the exact temporal and spatial relationship of the events is open to question; its visual style with its angular geometric shots; its unnamed characters who have repeated conversations about meeting before and promises given or imagined are locked in the film's world - which may not be a real place; its repeated card game. It is disorientating and disconcerting but familiar and domestic. It is as modern as modern could be in 1961 and still presents a challenge to the audience.  Fantasy Bob has always found the film difficult - almost as difficult as facing leg spin bowling.  The one thing he is sure about is that the film is not about cricket.  He can be confident about this, if nothing else.  After all, the film in is French and Marienbad is in the Czech Republic. 

Great fast bowler - poor film critic
But FB's mystification is shared by many others.  Not may people know that the great Fred Trueman moonlighted as a film critic in the early 1960s.  In fact only FB knows this through his diligent researches.  Fiery Fred was sent by his editor to review Last Year at Marienbad on its release in the UK.  It was in fact his only review in what proved to a be a very short career - his contract was swiftly ended and he returned to his pursuit of 300 Test wickets. 

His review was found wanting in analysis - it said simply, 'I just do not understand what is going on out there.'  He made repeated and effective use of this review in his subsequent career on Test Match Special

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