This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
"He wrote me..." A woman narrates the thoughts of a world traveler, meditations on time and memory expressed in words and images from places as far-flung as Japan, Guinea-Bissau, Iceland, and San Francisco.
The first image he told me about was of three children on a road in Iceland, in 1965.
On my imaginary shelf of favorites Sans Soleil had always sat slightly out of view, clandestinely lingering in the shadows behind the other cinematic behemoths that had crafted the loftiest statures in my mind. It sat in an indeterminable repose as I time and time again avoided re-watching it, every time hesitating, wondering if this was truly the film I once had thought it to be. Being intimidated by my own inner-circle is just the kind of business I'm in, and baby, business is a-boomin'. Now, after a multitude of revisits, looking back on my imaginary shelf there are still those that…
When it comes to movies these days I really am spoiled by so little want. I mean, it's just so easy to get hold of most things, even if one has to resort to torrent sites like karagarga or other more obscure avenues. Rewatching Sans Soleil reminded me of when I would make almost daily trips to the library in downtown San Francisco and bring home anything on DVD or VHS that looked interesting or that I'd heard about from friends on livejournal or whatever, often browsing a selection of the same old titles, yet anxious to see if perhaps anything new had been returned and not already picked out by another in the constantly ravenous swarm of movie fiends.…
Like any decently-educated cinephile, I was saddened at the passing of filmmaker Chris Marker in 2012. Having only seen La jetee by that time, I grieved based on how insanely original I found that film to be, and it further inspired me to seek out his other work to pay tribute. Well, as all of us cinephiles who vow to watch a canonical filmmaker's filmography can most likely sympathize, things in my life got in the way and that idea was derailed, replaced by other distractions or duties.
It wasn't until I purchased the discounted Criterion Blu-ray containing Marker's two greatest works that my goal was reinstated. I watched La jetee again, loving it even more, and then I moved…
"History throws its empty bottles out the window."
There are few if any avant garde films out there that are as funny and beautiful as this one. This is simply put one of the best film ever made. A fascinating study of memory, life and beauty. The scenes from Iceland were filmed in my hometown, Vestmannaeyjar (Heimaey), and stand here as the image of beauty. Japan is the place of future, the sci fi part of it. Africa is our origin. The world is a timeline, an emotional map and it's on display in this masterpiece.
There is no way I can write a review of this film. Any attempt is futile so these words will have to stand as an invitation to an experience. They in no way reflect the sun. They are in fact Sans Soleil - sunless. The film however is not.
"Who remembers all that? History throws its empty bottles out the window." ~ Narrator
This Chris Marker documentary has been called an "experimental essay-film." It takes the form of a personal travelogue, bringing together images from Japan and Guinea-Bissau, "two extreme poles of survival," along with scenes from Iceland, Cape Verde, Paris and San Francisco. The only discernible thread linking such diverse places is the mind and memory of the writer-director.
An ongoing narration gives meaning to the visual presentation in the form of supposed letters written by a male traveler -- a fictitious cameraman named Sandor Krasna. The letters are read by a female narrator -- Florence Delay in French or Alexandra Stewart in English -- and they address…
#69 — Sight & Sound's 2012 Critics Poll
From my ongoing quest to see all the Sight & Sound films...
Chris Marker's Sans Soleil is a strange and strangely satisfying documentary (of sorts) that focuses much of its attention on the minutiae of life in Japan as described in letters (of unknown provenance) read aloud by a woman with scrupulous diction. (Perhaps the one and only change I'd make in this curiosity of a film is replacing that narrator, as she tends to inflect even the most neutral-seeming ruminations with a smidgeon of haughtiness.)
The literal subjects (Japan and Africa and—to a lesser extent—San Francisco, Iceland, and elsewhere) are ostensible; Marker merely prefers these experiential data as a means of discussing memory…
Marker is at his densest here; I rated it lower than La Jetee but ultimately ratings are pretty useless for these two works. Marker deliberately tells a captivating non story marked by the interconnectivity of mankind, the influence of technology and consumerism on our modern day ennui, and our elusive connection to memory and the very act of remembering. There is a lot going on here but it all makes sense and nothing seems extraneous.
I didn't realise this was going to be so much about Japan, but I'm glad it was. It reminded me a lot of an Adam Curtis documentary, except without the paranoid (although probably true) politics
nothing can be said that hasn't already about this incredible achievement but for me this is an essential piece of art, the poetry of human existence in its most honest form, i am truly stunned, frightened, blown away and changed in ways that only cinema can accomplish
Great imagery but couldn't understand what Chris Marker was going for with this one. A documentary supposedly about the world only covered 3 countries, mostly Japan. Marker said that the film is more like a home movie and it felt like you were watching someone recording random things of life only to go and watch it on his tv and never show it to the world. The sound mixing is the best part about the film. One day I might rewatch it but for now, disappointing.
Sans Soleil had some interesting things in it, especially the shrine to pets in Japan. Unfortunately no proper context is given, so it's hard to follow where things are happening and how they relate to each other, so in the end I gave up on it.
A voyage through images to the world, or was it the other way around? Impressive in how it widely translates social structures into data.
I took the measure of the unbearable vanity of the West, that has never ceased to privilege being over non-being, what is spoken to what is left unsaid.
Chris Marker's Sans Soleil is, with a second viewing, less foreign, less incomprehensible. Holistically I am still far from 'there', but in the writing, oh God, in the writing how wholly beautiful. I am once more moved to passivity; one day I will return with more words.
Chris Marker's essay/documentary film SANS SOLEIL mystified me as much as his 1962 landmark LA JETEE, but in perhaps a much more confused state. The film juxtaposes images of a post-WWII Japan and a war-torn Guinea-Bissau. Marker intends an experiential viewing with SANS SOLEIL. Images of Japanese cat temples, bloody civil war in Guinea-Bissau, and one of the film's more memorable three Icelandic children walking near an Icelandic road.
An off-setting aspect of this film is perhaps the narration by Alexandra Stewart (English) or the other three language versions for that matter. Stewart recites introspection from Marker himself, describing some of the images like the idea of transcending the image with "The Zone" named after Andrei Tarkovsky's very setting in STALKER. The voice, however, maybe detracts from the image sometimes, but the overall experimental aesthetics makes up for the vocal distractions.
A film for the eyes... a film for the soul.
A list that, if nothing else, proves the day-to-day usefulness of applied statistics.
Between 2015 and 2016, a series of…
Movies that are slightly off.