L’Année Dernière à Marienbad [Last Year at Mariebad] (1961; directed by Alain Robbe-Grillet & Alain Resnais, French with English subtitles.): Philosophers like Descartes took solipsism—the view that I might be the only mind in the world – seriously enough to try to argue against it. Enter Marienbad and you’re in such a world, in a story narrated by a character who never lets us tell whether we are experiencing present events, memories of the past, fantasies or fears. The very notion of objective reality comes under pressure: the physical world is no help—the scenery, costume and soundtrack can be as unreliable as the narrator. Yet if we abandon the Cartesian rationalist’s search for logical structure and allow the film’s story-telling elements to take over, they provide us with a satisfying emotional and aesthetic narrative instead.

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