Last Year at Marienbad (1961) Script

Cross corridors leading in turn to empty rooms, rooms heavily laden with a décor from the past.

Silent rooms where the sound of footsteps is absorbed by carpets so heavy, so thick, that all sound escapes the ear.

As if the ear itself, as one walks, once again, along these corridors and through these rooms, in this building that belongs to the past.

This huge, luxurious, baroque and dismal hotel where corridor follows corridor.

Silent, deserted corridors heavily laden with woodwork and panelling, with marble, mirrors, pictures and darkness, pillars, alcoves and rows of doorways...

Cross corridors leading in turn to empty rooms, rooms heavily laden with a décor from the past.

Silent rooms, where the sound of footsteps is absorbed by carpets so thick that all sound escapes the ear.

As if the ear itself were very far from the ground, far from this empty décor, far from this ceiling with its branches and garlands like classical foliage.

As if the ground were still sand and gravel and stone paving which I crossed once again.

Along these corridors and through these rooms, in this building that belongs to the past, this huge, luxurious and baroque hotel where endless corridors...


Silent rooms where the sound of footsteps is absorbed by carpets so heavy, so thick, that all sound escapes the ear.

As if the ear itself, as one walks, once again, along these corridors, through these rooms in this building...


Alcoves and rows of doorways...

Cross corridors leading in turn to empty rooms, rooms heavily laden with a décor from the past.

Silent rooms, where the sound of footsteps is absorbed by carpets so heavy, so thick, that all sound escapes the ear.

...and stone paving which I crossed once again...

Along these corridors and through these rooms, in this building that belongs to the past, this huge, luxurious and baroque hotel where corridor follows corridor.

Silent, deserted corridors heavily laden with woodwork and panelling, with marble, mirrors, pictures and darkness, pillars, alcoves and rows of doorways...

Cross corridors that lead in turn to empty rooms...


With woodwork, rows of doorways...

Cross corridors leading in turn to empty rooms, rooms heavily laden with a décor from the past.

Silent rooms, where the sound of footsteps is absorbed by carpets so heavy, so thick, that all sound escapes the ear.

As if the ear itself were very far from the ground, far from this empty décor, far from this ceiling with its branches and garlands like classical foliage.

As if the ground were still sand and gravel and stone paving which I crossed once again on my way to meet you Between these walls laden with woodwork, with pictures and framed engravings through which I made my way, amongst which I was already waiting for you.

Very far from the setting where I find myself now, as you still wait for someone who will not come.

Someone who may never come to separate us again, to take you away from me.

We must wait a little.

A few minutes, a few seconds no more.

A few seconds, as if you were still in doubt about parting with him and yourself.

As if his fading figure might even now reappear...

Here where he appeared to you too vividly, too fearfully, too hopefully.

Frightened of losing this bond...

This hope no longer has a purpose.

The fear of losing such a suffocating bond is over.

This story is already over.

In a few seconds, it will freeze forever.

Into a marble past, like these statues worked in stone.

Like this very hotel, filled with emptiness, these static silent characters long since dead standing guard in the corridors as I made my way towards you.

Between two rows of frozen faces watching, forever indifferent faces.

As I came towards you, in your doubt.

Still watching the threshold of this garden.

Now, I am yours.


Don't worry about what the others think.

You know that...

You pretended only to listen to me.

I'm listening.

You make my role unbearable.

You confine me in a whispering silence worse than death.

Lower your voice.

These whispers worse than silence.

These days worse than death that we live through.

Like coffins buried side by side in a frozen garden.

A reassuringly tidy garden with clipped hedges, with geometrical paths down which we walk together, day after day, and almost hand in hand.

It's unbelievable.

I don't quite remember.

It must have been in '28 or '29.

In the summer of '29, it froze for a week.

A handsome woman.

Too much imagination.


You confine me in a silence worse than death.

Like these days that we live through, side by side, and almost hand in hand.

Our mouths forever apart.

Fingers that never entwine, eyes that do not see you, for they are forced to look away towards these walls laden with carvings, crystal mirrors, and outmoded pictures.

Fake cornices.

False doors and deceiving views.

False exits.

Extraordinary!

Not so extraordinary as all that!

He set the whole thing up himself, you know.

You've been here long?

No. But I've been before.

You like this place?

Not much. We just come here.

My father was to get a post.

A shoe with a broken heel.

From which there is no escape?

From which there is no escape.

Don't you know the story?

Last year it was all we talked of.

Frank told her that her father had sent him to look after her.

An odd way of doing so!

She realized that later, when one night he tried to get into her room, pretending he wanted to explain a picture to her.

Having a German passport doesn't prove much.

But his presence has no connection.

I suggest a different game.

A game I always win at.

If you can't lose, it's not a game.

I can lose, but I always win.

Two play.

The cards are laid out like this...

Seven.

Five.

Three.

One.

Each player in turn picks up cards, as many as he likes, but from one row at a time.

The one who picks up the last card loses.

Will you begin?


You haven't changed. I feel I left you only yesterday.

What have you been doing?

Nothing. I'm still the same.

Not married?

A pity. It's fun.

I like to be free.

Here?

Why not here?

It's an odd place.

To be free in, you mean?

That, amongst other things.

You're still the same.

You're still the same.


But you hardly seem to remember.

Yet you're familiar with the setting, this hand holding a bunch of grapes.

Behind the hand, you see the almost living foliage.

In a garden that would be ours.

You've never noticed?

I've never had so good a guide.

"As the compass said to the ship", goes the proverb.

I can show you a lot more here, if you wish.

With pleasure.

Has this hotel so many secrets?

So many.

How strange.

Why look at me like that?

You hardly seem to remember me.


I first saw you in the gardens in Frederiksbad.

You were alone, apart from the others.

Standing by a balustrade, resting your hand on it, your arm half outstretched.

You were half facing the main avenue.

You did not see me coming.

My footsteps on the gravel finally drew your attention.

Then you turned your head.

It was not me.

You must be mistaken.

Remember.

We were near a stone statue on a tall pedestal.

A man and woman in classical dress.

Their pose seemed to represent something definite.

You asked me who they were.

I said I didn't know.

You tried to guess. I said they might as well be you and I.

Then you began to laugh.

I love, I already loved to hear you laugh.

The others had come near us.

Someone named the statue.

He said they were Greek gods or heroes from mythology.

Either that, or some allegory or another.

You weren't listening. You seemed far away.

Your eyes had become solemn and empty again.

You half turned away to look at the main avenue again.


And once again we found ourselves separated.


It's impossible.


What if you played first?

And once again I made my way alone along these same corridors, through these same deserted rooms, past these pillars and windowless galleries, through these same doorways, making my way at random in the labyrinth around me.

And once again, everything was empty and deserted in this huge hotel.

Empty rooms, corridors, rooms and doors, doors and rooms, empty chairs, deep armchairs, stairways, steps, more and more.

Glass empty glasses.

A falling glass, a glass partition.

A lost letter.

Keys hanging on their rings.

Numbered room keys: three hundred and nine, three hundred and seven, three hundred and five.

Chandeliers and mirrors.

Empty corridors as far as the eye can see.

Like everything else, the garden was deserted.

It was last year. Have I changed so much?

Or are you pretending not to know me?

One year. Maybe more.

At least you haven't changed.

You've still the same faraway eyes.

The same smile, the same sudden laugh.

The same way of putting out your arm to ward off something in the way, of raising your hand to your shoulder.

You're wearing the same perfume.

Remember.

It was in the gardens in Frederiksbad.

You were standing alone.

You were leaning on a stone balustrade, resting your hand on it, your arm half outstretched.

Looking towards the main avenue.

I came towards you, but I stopped some way off, and looked at you.

You were now facing me.

Yet you didn't seem to see me.

I was watching you. You did not move.

I told you how real you seemed.

You just smiled.

I spoke of the statue.

I told you that the man wanted to stop the woman.

He must have seen some danger and was motioning his friend to stop.

You replied that she was the one who had seen something.

And that she was pointing out something breathtaking.

Both explanations were possible.

The couple had left home and had been walking for days.

They've just come to the edge of a cliff.

He holds her back, to keep her from the edge.

While she points to the sea stretching to the horizon.

Then you asked me their names.

I replied that it didn't matter.

You didn't agree and started naming them without much thought.

So I said they might as well be you and I.

Or just anyone...

Don't name them. They may have had other adventures.

You're forgetting the dog. What's he doing?

He's not theirs. He just happened to run by.

But he's with his mistress.

She's not his mistress.

He's close, because the pedestal is narrow.

The same couple have no dog in that other statue.

They're facing now. Her hand's caressing his lips.

Close to, you can see she looks away.

I don't want to. It's too far.

Follow me. Please.

Please!

It's impossible. I've never been to Frederiksbad.

Perhaps it was elsewhere.

In Karlstadt, or Marienbad, or in Baden-Salsa, or even in this room.

You followed me here so I could show you this picture.

The man's movements are clear and so is the woman's arm.

But you must be on the other side to see that the man wants to stop the woman.

He's seen some danger, probably.

He motions her to stop.

I think I can give you some more accurate information.

The statue is of Charles Ill and his wife.

It's not of the period, of course.

It shows the Oath before the Diet.

The classical costumes are completely conventional.


You were waiting for me.

No. Why should I be?

I've waited a long time for you.

In your dreams?

You're running away again.

What do you mean?

I don't understand a word.

If it were a dream, why should you be afraid?

Tell me how our story continues.

We met again that very afternoon.

By chance, I suppose?

I don't know.

Where was it this time?

Where? That does not matter.

You were with a group of people.

People I hardly knew. I don't think you did either.

They were talking about some current event or other.

You probably knew more about it than I did.

I was watching you.

Your sparkling conversation seemed forced.

I felt these people didn't know who you were.

I alone did.

You didn't know yourself.

You kept avoiding my glance.

You were clearly doing it on purpose.

I waited, I had the time.

I've always thought I've had time.

When your eyes looked my way, it was as if I didn't exist.

Finally, to make you look, I spoke, breaking into the conversation with some remark designed to draw your attention.

I've forgotten what it was.

You answered me in the sudden silence with irony on what I'd just said.

The others remained silent.

And again I felt no one understood.

Perhaps I was the only one to hear.


Then someone spoke of the evening's entertainment.

Perhaps it was for the next day.

I forgot what we said next.


You didn't like walking because of your high heels.

One day, later on I think, you broke one of your high heels.

You had to take my arm whilst you took off your shoe.

The heel was severed, except for a strand of leather.

You looked at it for a moment.

Your foot scarcely touched the ground, posed before your other foot like a dancer's.

I offered to fetch another pair.

You refused.

Then I said I could carry you back.

You just laughed, without replying, as though...

But that day, you carried your shoes back.

You walked to the hotel over the gravel.

I saw you again.

You never seemed to be waiting.

But we met at every turn, behind every shrub,

at the foot of every statue, by every fountain.

As though, in all this garden, there were only you and I.

We talked about anything, the statues' names, the shapes of the bushes,

the water in the fountains.

Sometimes we remained silent.

At night especially, you did not like to talk.

One night I went up to your room.


These walls were always there, surrounding me.

Even, smooth, glazed walls.

These walls were always there.

The silence, too.

I never heard a voice raised in this hotel.

Conversations took place in a vacuum, as if the words meant nothing.

As though they could have no meaning.

A sentence would stop in space, frozen in its flight, and resume its journey, there or elsewhere.

It did not matter.

The same conversations, the same missing voices.

The servants were silent. The games.

It was a place of rest.

No business was done. No conspiracies were bred.

No words were spoken to arouse emotion.

There were signs everywhere:

"Silence... silence."


Yes, I think I remember.

You saw it?

No, but a friend told me.

But you can check the weather reports.

Let's go to the library.

Do you know what I heard?

This time last year, it was so cold, the fountains froze.

It must be a mistake.

What do you want? You know it's impossible.

One night, I went up to your room.

You were alone.

Leave me alone.

It was almost summer.

Yes, you're right.

There couldn't have been any ice.

It's time for the concert. May I go with you?


Are you going to the concert?

I'll see you at dinner.

This story is already over.

In a few moments, it will freeze into a marble past.

Like these statues in this garden in stone.

Like this hotel with its now empty rooms.


You never seemed to be waiting for me.

But we met at every turn.

Behind every shrub.

At the foot of every statue.

By every fountain's edge.

As though in all this garden there were only you and I.

We talked about the statues' names, the bushes, the water in the fountains and the colour of the sky.

Sometimes we remained silent.


But you always kept some way away, as if on the brink of some dark forbidding place.

Come here.

Come nearer.

Leave me alone, please.

And again these walls, corridors, doors.

And still more beyond.

In order to reach you, you don't know the paths I've taken.

Now you are here.

You still try to escape. But you are here in this garden, within my reach, within my sight. You are here.

Who are you?

What's your name?

That doesn't matter.

That doesn't matter.

You're like some phantom waiting for me to come.

Leave me.

It's already too late.

You asked me not to see you.

But of course we met, the day after or the next, or the day after that.

Perhaps it was by accident.

I insisted on your leaving with me.

You said it was impossible, of course.

But now, you know it's the only thing left for you to do.

Yes, perhaps.

I don't know.

But why must it be me?

You were waiting for me.

No, I wasn't. I was waiting for no one.

Waiting for nothing, as though you were dead.

It's not true. You're still alive.

You're here. I can see you.

Do you remember?

It's probably not true.

You've already forgotten.

It's not true.

You're leaving. Your door is open.

What do you hope to get from me?

What other life would you have me live?

I don't mean another life!

It's a question of your life.

Remember.

One evening, the last, I think, it was almost dark.

A shadowy figure slowly advanced through the dusk.

Long before I could distinguish your features, I knew it was you.

When you recognized me, you stopped.

We stood there, a few yards apart, without saying a word.

You were standing before me.

Waiting, perhaps.

Unable to move either forward or back.

You stood there, motionless.

Your arms at your sides.

Looking at me.

Your eyes open even wider.

Your lips parted, as though to speak, or groan, or cry out.

You are afraid.

You open your mouth a little more.

Your eyes get wider.

You hold your hand forward, uncertainly, as if waiting, appealing, or perhaps in defence.

Your fingers tremble.

You are afraid.

Who is it?

Your husband?

He was looking for you, or maybe passing by.

He was already nearing you.

But you remained rigid, as if you were not there.

He didn't quite seem to recognize you.

So he stepped forward.

Something about you escaped him.

One step further.

You looked through him.

He chose to go.

And now, you still stare into the empty space.

You still see him.

His grey eyes.

His grey shape.

And his smile.

And you're afraid.

You dread his return.

Again I come to your room.

His room was next door, with a lounge between.

Besides, he'll be in the card room now.

I had told you I would come.

I found all the doors ajar.

The hall door, the lounge door and yours.

I just had to push them open and close them behind me.

You know the rest.

No, I don't. I don't know you!

Nor this mantelpiece with its mirror.

What mirror? What mantelpiece?

I don't know any more.

It's not true.

Why should you be here otherwise?

What was the mirror like?

There's no mirror over the mantelpiece.

There's a picture.

A landscape, a snow scene, I think.

The mirror's over the chest.

There's also a dressing table and other furniture as well.

What kind of bed?

A big one, probably.

What could you see from the windows?

I don't know.

I've never been in any bedroom with you.

You don't want to remember.

Because you're afraid.

Don't you recognize this photo either?

No, I don't remember.

You know who took it!

You didn't want me to.

You said it would upset you.

That's true. I was right!

I remember this room perfectly.

You were waiting for me.

Yes, there was a mirror over the chest.

I first saw you in the mirror when I pushed open the door.

You were sitting in a sort of négligée.

You were all in white and wearing this ring.

I'm sure you're making it up.

I've never had a white dressing gown.

It was someone else.

As you wish.

You lay among white feathers.

Please be quiet. You're mad.

"No, no please!"

It's last year's voice I hear.

You were already afraid.

That night I loved your fear.

I watched you as you protested a little.

I loved you.

There was something in your eyes.

You were alive.

At first... do you remember?

No.

You were sincere.

But only you know.


What's wrong?

Nothing.

Are you tired? A little.

It's the sun, all of a sudden.

Let's go back in, if you like?

If you like.


That was the day I photographed you.

And you asked me to give you a year.

Perhaps to test me, perhaps to weary me, or so you could forget.

But time is unimportant.

I have come back for you now.

It's impossible.

It's impossible.

Of course.

But you know that it is possible.

You know you are ready to leave.

What makes you so sure?

Where would we go?

Anywhere.

We should really separate for ever.

Last year...

You'll leave alone.

And forever we'll be...

Why should we be lonely and have to wait forever?

It's not true.

But you're afraid.

No!

But now it's too late.

He had just left your room.

You had just had some row with him.


You can see the garden.

You hadn't seen him leave. That might have calmed you.

Then, you went back to the bed.

Not knowing where to go, you went back to the bed again and sat on it.

Then you let yourself fall back.

You went back to the bed,

after a few seconds of indecision, not knowing what to do, staring in front of you.

And you went back to the bed.

Listen to me! Try to remember.

Please listen to me!

Yes, there was...

It's true. There was a big mirror.

You didn't dare go near it.

It seemed to frighten you.

You're determined not to believe me.

Where are you? Where have you gone?

Why try to run away? It's too late.

It was too late even then.

The door was closed.

No! The door was closed!

What more proof do you want?

I had a photo of you taken just before you left.

You said the photo didn't prove a thing.

Anyone could have taken it.

In any garden.

I should have shown you the feathers.

Your body a sea of feathers.

But bodies and négligées are all alike.

Hotels, statues, and gardens are alike.

But for me, this garden was unique.

Every day, I met you there.

One afternoon, the next day no doubt,

I told you we're leaving.

No. You weren't laughing.

We'll leave tomorrow and never return.

No, that wasn't it.

Yes. We were in your room.

We had already decided to leave.

You had agreed, somewhat unwillingly.

I was in your room.

From the doorway, you see the bed, but not the dressing table.

You were probably by the window, looking down at the garden, I think.

I'm not quite sure.

I had met him coming down the stairs.

He'd just left.

Was it another day?

That evening, everything was empty.

The stairs, the corridors, the stairs.


I don't remember any more.

I don't remember myself.

I don't remember.

Didn't you hear me knock?

Yes. I told you to come in.

You must have spoken softly.


What's this photograph?

An old one of me.

When was it taken?

I don't know. Last year.

Who took it?

I don't know. Frank, perhaps.

Frank wasn't here last year.

Perhaps it wasn't here.

Perhaps it was in Frederiksbad.

Perhaps someone else took it.

How did you spend the afternoon?

I just read a little.

I looked for you. Were you outside?

No. I was in the green room.

I looked there though.

You'd something to tell me?

You seem worried.

I'm a little tired.

You must rest. Don't forget that's what we're here for.

Going out?

I may go to the Gun Room.

At this time?

Why not?

Anderson's arriving tomorrow. We'll have lunch with him, if you've no other plans.

What other plans?

Till tonight then.

When the door was shut, you listened for his footsteps.

But you heard none. You didn't even hear other doors closing.

The way to the Gun Room was via the terrace behind the hotel.

But unless you open the window, you can't see the terrace.

You listened for his footsteps on the gravel.

With the window closed, it was impossible to hear.

Besides, there's probably no gravel just there.


One arm reaching up to your hair.

An outstretched forefinger to your lips, as if to stifle a cry.

Now you're here again.

No, this is not the proper ending.

I need you alive.

Alive, you were every evening for weeks and for months.

I've never stayed anywhere for so long.

Yes, I know.

It's all the same to me.

Why don't you want to remember?

You're mad!

I'm tired. Leave me.


This game's absurd.

You must take an odd number.

The one who begins, loses.

Frank used to play last year.

You must take the complement of seven.

Please begin.

Which one shall I take?

This one.

I've lost, then.


It's not true. You were sincere.

Remember.

For days and days, night after night...

All bedrooms are the same, you'll say.

But for me, that room was different.

There were no doors, no corridors.

Not even the garden.


In the middle of the night, the hotel slept.

We met each other outside, as before.

You stopped when you recognized me.

We stood there in silence.

You stood waiting, unable to move either forward or back.

You stood motionless, your arms by your sides.

You wore a long dark cape.

I think it was black.

Listen to me, for pity's sake.

We can't turn back the past.

Only wait a little longer.

Next year, the same day, the same time, here.

I'll follow you.

Please. We must wait.

A year's not long.

For me it's nothing.

But listen!

For how long must we put it off?

I've waited too long.

But what do you hope to achieve?

Do you think it's so easy?

I don't know.

Perhaps...

I'm not very brave.

I can't put it off.

A few hours is all I ask.

A few months... a few hours.

A few minutes or a few seconds.

It's as though you couldn't decide to leave him, as if it meant parting with yourself.

As if his shape...

Be quiet. Someone's coming!

Go away, if you love me!


You're feeling faint.

It's nothing.

You're better already.

I'll go upstairs.

Shall I come with you?

No. I'd rather go alone.

I'm going.


And again I made my way along these corridors, walking for days and months, walking for years, towards you.

There can be no rest within these walls.

I shall leave tonight and take you with me.

Had this story begun last year with us waiting for each other, one year ago, you couldn't have gone on living in this setting, amongst these mirrors and pillars, surrounded by these swinging doors, these giant stairways, this ever open room.

Where are you, my lost love?

I'm here.

Here with you, in this room.

But already it's no longer true.

Please help me!

You were feeling better.

Yes, now you'll sleep and wake already to meet Ackerson, or Paterson, whom you're supposed to lunch with.

Don't let me go.

You know it's too late.

Tomorrow I'll be alone.

Your room will be empty.

No!

I'm cold.

You need nothing.

You don't know what happened just now.

You don't remember.

You're afraid you shocked them.

When this man, who maybe is your husband, had gone, this man you may even love, whom you'll leave tonight for ever, you packed your things and prepared a change of clothes.

We were to leave tonight.

You seemed to want to give him a chance.

I don't know. I accepted.

He could have come to take you back.

The hotel was deserted.

Everyone was at the play.

Your fainting gave you an excuse not to go.

I can't remember the title.

It was due to finish late.

After he'd left you, lying on your bed he went to the theatre.

He sat with a group of friends.

If he really wanted to keep you, he would have to leave before the end.

You were dressed, ready to go.

You sat waiting for him alone in a lounge adjoining your suite.

You'd asked me to leave you till midnight.

Were you hoping he would come?

I thought you might have told him everything and fixed a time for him to come.

Or perhaps you thought I might not come myself.

I came at the appointed time.


The grounds of the hotel were symmetrically arranged, without trees or flowers, or plants of any kind.

The gravel, the stone and the marble were spread in strict array in unmysterious shapes.

At first sight, it seemed impossible to lose your way.

At first sight...

Along these stone paths and amidst these statues, where you were already losing your way for ever in the still night, alone with me.