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Dimanche à Pekin (1956)

| Documentary, Short

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Gilles Quéant ...
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Sunday in Peking  »

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The bright colors of Peking
28 June 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Chris Marker's travel documentary on Peking is gorgeous. The colors are bright and evocative. The narration describes the city as a "feast of color" and Marker's camera is determined to film all of it.

As a Marker documentary, "Sunday in Peking" is not as a good as Letter from Siberia, made the following year, although as in that film Marker's initial connection to his subject was through memories of childhood stories and pictures in books. I am not sure of what Marker feels about Peking. It is a more ambiguous portrait than his one for Siberia. Marker clearly loves the people he sees (and the colors of course), but China is described as a "triumphant arch leading nowhere." I am not sure what to make of Marker's conclusion that Peking is the "Sabbath of the whole world." Regardless, "Sunday in Peking" is well worth watching. Marker's visuals are stunning.

Coincidentally, I have been reading Henry Miller's The Colossus of Maroussi as I have been watching the recent region 2 set of Marker movies. So far the movies in the set and the Miller book have complimented each other well. Both Marker and Miller are travelers giving a personalized account of their subjects. These accounts are unique, and as Miller writes: "Nobody can explain anything which is unique. One can describe, worship and adore."


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