Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chris Marker - Sans Soleil (1983)

This film was just immaculate. Yes, I just dropped the nuclear warhead of praising adjectives, and deservingly so. The film is, at its core, a mediation on two very opposing cultures and the nexus between time and memory, among a cluster of other things. It's immensely poetic and the overdubbed narration in the form of letters sent by a fictional traveler (obviously intended to be a shadow of Marker himself) are presented in a stream of consciousness style which transition rapidly alongside the visuals. With all its tangents, at times I found the film to be a bit recondite (even a bit pretentious, although in a good way), which I can't say often in regards to cinema. A few of the more memorable scenes were the shots of the enervated Japanese on trains, nodding off after a tiresome day juxtaposed with various clips from Japanese television, giving a visceral effect and look into the identity of their culture or the brutal murder of the giraffe which was equal parts horrifying and captivating in a morbid, grabbing way. The fact that this film was done entirely by one man, armed with a single 16mm Beaulieu silent film camera in conjunction with a non-sync portable tape recorder, not to mention edited solely by the same man is also quite impressive. Very glad I finally got around to watching this. Need to watch La jetée next.

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