Thursday, June 7, 2007

Sans Soleil (1982)

Directed by Chris.Marker.

I haven't seen nearly as many non-narrative films as I should have, and certainly not enough to speak in depth on the unique power of Marker's meditation on cinema and memory. For me, however, the film's greatness is in the ways it illuminates the strange and wonderful world in which we live. Marker, utilizing the device of letters read in voiceover, is able to find wonder in everyday things, like a parade, the technological maze of downtown Tokyo, and the usually-discouraged sight of people looking into the camera. The film's most moving sequence, for me anyway, was of a town that had been buried under volcanic ash, and particularly the letter-writer's memory of children playing there years before. By jettisoning traditional notions of narrative and characters and focusing instead on the small ways people try to find their own niche in the world, Marker finds a unique angle on what Jacques Tati attempted with PLAY TIME- that is, "a film about everyone."

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