Back in the day, literal-minded audiences had great fun pretending to be baffled by this artiest of European art films. In Alain Resnais 1961 Last Year at Marienbad, politely avid X (Giorgio Albertazzi) pursues the mysteriously diffident A (an irresistible Delphine Seyrig) through a huge, mirror-encrusted château. X insists, against As protestations, that a year ago shed promised to leave her husband for him. Hopelessly retro, eternally avant-garde, and one of the most influential movies ever made (as well as one of the most reviled), Marienbad is both utterly lucid and provocatively opaquean elaborate joke on the worlds corniest pickup line and a drama of erotic fixation that takes Vertigo to the next level of abstraction. Its a movie of alarming stasiselegant zombies positioned like chess pieces in a hypercivilized haunted houseand unsurpassed fluidity. The hypnotic dollies elaborate on those of Resnais earlier Hiroshima Mon Amour; the montage effortlessly synthesizes past and present, flashback and flash-forward, svelte shock cuts and shock match cuts. (The movie runs Fri., July 18Thurs., July 24, and is not rated.) SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 448-2186, www.siff.net. $5$10. 2 and 8 p.m.
July 19-24, 2 p.m., 2008