Robin Camille Davis
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Sans Soleil

November 04, 2009
Tags: film, gorgeous

Yesterday, I watched Sans Soleil, a 1983 film by Chris Marker. It's unclassifiable, but "documentary" seems to come closest to describing it. "Meditation", maybe. It seems at first like a directionless collage of images from Japan, western Africa, and San Francisco, but somehow you get the sense that everything is related and there's a painful, quiet beauty to be found in human nature, no matter where you are on the planet.

Brooding at the end of the world on my island of Sal in the company of my prancing dogs I remember that month of January in Tokyo, or rather I remember the images I filmed of the month of January in Tokyo. They have substituted themselves for my memory. They are my memory. I wonder how people remember things who don't film, don't photograph, don't tape. How has mankind managed to remember? I know: it wrote the Bible. The new Bible will be an eternal magnetic tape of a time that will have to reread itself constantly just to know it existed. [Sans Soleil script, English translation]

Marker also wrote/directed La Jetée (1962), a classic and one of my faves.

You can watch La Jetée here (in English, 20 minutes)
and Sans Soleil here (in French with Spanish subtitles, 1 hour 10 minutes).