Monday, June 15, 2009

Criterion Restores 15 Minutes of Lost 'Marienbad' Fart Jokes

When Alain Resnais released "Last Year at Marienbad" in 1961, he was under extreme pressure to keep the running-time at 95 minutes or less. At the end of a heated editing-room fight, his producers forced him to cut a full 15-minutes of fart jokes, which for the past half-century were believed lost. But the Criterion Collection's new, director-approved DVD and Blu-ray release of the classic masterpiece restores this legendary cinematic treasure trove, oft compared with the missing footage from "Greed" and "The Magnificent Ambersons." Criterion managed to keep it a secret for some time, but made the big announcement in a new ad on The Awl:

As of publication, you can still see the ad on The Awl. Try refreshing the page a few time if it doesn't pop up the first time (because an ad for "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" appears instead).

Having spent a little time with the DVD, which comes out June 23rd, I can tell you that not only is the transfer gorgeous, but the restored footage is 100-percent on the same level as the previously known cut. Every new fart joke had me on the floor. Bravo, Renais, and congratulations to Criterion for this momentous discovery.

A quick sample Alain Robbe-Grillet's dialogue, to get you excited:

-I've never farted in anyone's face.

-I remember it clearly. It was in the gardens at Frederiksbad. I was sitting alone, beside a statue. I noticed you along the balustrade. You were alone, to one side. You came towards me now, but you didn't seem to see me. I told you you looked alive. Then you looked at me, turned around, spread your cheeks, stuck your ass in my face and let one rip.

-But I've never been to Frederiksbad.

It was evening. The last evening probably. It was almost dark. A faint shadow moved slowly through the dusk. Even before I could make out your features, I knew it was you. I couldn't mistake the remarkably strong, slightly sweet stench that had wafted from your behind. When you recognized me, you stopped. We stood there, a few yards apart, without speaking. The only sounds we made came from our anuses—mine so faint you weren't sure I made them until you caught the oh so deadly scent, yours as loud as a tugboat. You stood in front of me, waiting perhaps, as if unable to take another step forward or turn back.

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