All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
"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.
There's a great quote from a book I read recently that is a great little companion to the film, so I thought I'd include it.
“What we, or at any rate what I, refer to confidently as memory--meaning a moment, a scene, a fact that has been subjected to a fixative and thereby rescued from oblivion--is really a form of storytelling that goes on continually in the mind and often changes with the telling. Too many conflicting emotional interests are involved for life ever to be wholly acceptable, and possibly it is the work of the storyteller to rearrange things so that they conform to this end. In any case,…
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.
#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…
Watching Chris Marker's philosophical travelogue is a little like falling asleep during an especially long-winded and rambling TED talk, only to wake up realizing the topic has jumped from San Francisco to Japan.
Image and narration, which is provided by an unnamed female voice, are loosely related at best. Memory and time, cultural connections, detours into an examination of Hitchcock's Vertigo... after awhile you stop trying to make sense of it in any linear manner and start to appreciate the film's poetry. And like poetry it is both rewarding and confounding on first encounters.
You watch because of the humanity you can never feel through touch, but only through image and imagination. You watch because the intensity of which you look is what is familiar than what you are actually seeing.
I admired the expansive nature of Chris Marker's film. It seems to tackle a wide range of weighty topics, from the unreality of memory and cinema all the way to death. I can't say I have a tremendous grasp of the film, but I was certainly affected by it: Right after finishing it, I felt this desire to walk outside and closely observe the people and environment around me. Marker has an unusually attentive eye; he takes everything in, using free association to muse about life, death, memory, culture, politics, television, and history. To a certain extent, Sans Soleil felt like in-depth view of the director's thought/artistic process. It made me wish that I could see things the way he…
I'm not sure what to call this. A documentary? A travelogue? Those terms are usually associated with this film. But as Marker creates connections between his dogs swimming in the ocean on the coast of Iceland and the Chinese new year, or observes humanity through the lens of cultural barrier (or cultural parallel) between Japan and Guinea-Bissau, or traces the steps of Vertigo, it's clear to me that this isn't merely the work of a traveller simply showing what he sees, nor is it a product of documentarian objectivity. Its deliberate meandering construction and narrative flow are clearly defiant of those two aforementioned labels.
Whatever this is, it's unique. And if that doesn't make it worthy of merit already, it's phenomenal and mesmerising in its execution as well.
I don't know why non-Japanese film makers make such boring documentaries about Tokyo but like Wim Wenders' "Tokyo Ga," this one was a snoozer. The premise appeared to be "Japanese people are like so weird yet they can teach us so much about life" which is patronizing to me. Also, the sudden footage of Guinea-Bissau involving the killing of a giraffe and a man dead of gangrene was unnecessary and equally offensive as that's really all you see of the Republic. There's travelogue and there's focusing on "otherness" in a WASP-y way and this film was the latter.
I have most certainly just found (and have been rendered exceptionally speechless by) the film (well, "film") I would provide in response to the simultaneously inane and thought-provoking question: What film do you show to someone to introduce them to the human race?
More of an ineffable journey down the stream of consciousness of the observations and daily thoughts of those living in the nooks and crannies of culture and society than a straightforward "documentary" as one might be inclined to initially label this work. Marker has created something stunningly beautiful and impossibly human here that is both literary and filmic at once, embracing all of the endless detail and personal truth of literature and proudly showcasing all of the…
this, to me, is an example of how a film can also be a poem.
we are all lost cats, wherever you are peace be with you
The final installment in my "I woke up at 1:30pm and decided to binge watch films all day" trilogy
p.s also really really very good