9 items from 2011
Blu-ray Release Date: Feb. 7, 2012
Price: Blu-ray $39.95
True love stands the test of time in La Jetée.
Two movies by the seminal French artiste Chris Marker receive Blu-ray makeovers by Criterion: the influential, radical science-fiction short film classic La Jetée (1963) and the mind-bending free-form documentary/travelogue Sans Soleil (1983).
The two films — a tale of time travel told in still images (and the inspiration for Terry Gilliam’s 1995 feature 12 Monkeys) and a stunning visual journey to Africa and Japan — remain the most widely seen films ever made by Marker, who’s also been recognized as a poet, novelist, photographer, editor and now videographer and digital multimedia artist.
Criterion released both movies on DVD before.
The Blu-ray contains the following features:
two interviews with filmmaker Jean-Pierre GorinChris on Chris, »
The Criterion Collection continually release some of the best and most important films (not to mention the best picture, sound and supplements packages) one could hope to find in the Blu-ray format and today's announcement of their February releases further cements this belief.
In February, The Criterion Collection will be releasing six films, five new additions to the numbered spine count, as well as one upgrade. The upgraded title consists of two films, La Jeéte and Sans Soleil, directed by Chris Marker. Both films, the former being about time travel through the use of still imagery, the latter about a trip from Africa to Japan, are completely different but inherently connected.
From Sci-Fi to Samurai, the five new additions to The Criterion Collection run the gamut of genres, all representing some of cinema's finest moments. There's World on a Wire, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's futuristic noir tale that was originally »
(Chris Marker, 1962/1983, 15, Optimum)
Chris Marker, the great French documentarist, has been globetrotting across every continent for 60 years now, making a series of highly individual, often idiosyncratic leftwing films, frequently on anti-colonial and anti-imperialist themes. Sans Soleil (aka Sunless) is a poetic semi-documentary shot in Japan, Africa, Europe and the United States, meditating, often gnomically, on time, memory and social change with an epigraph from Ts Eliot's "Ash Wednesday". The San Francisco sequence evokes both Hitchcock's Vertigo and Marker's most famous picture, La Jetée, a haunting 27-minute sci-fi masterwork set after an apocalyptic third world war. Except for one split-second shot, La Jetée unfolds entirely in grainy black-and-white stills, with a sonorous voiceover narrative and eerie sound effects. Set in a ravaged, subterranean Paris, it centres on a scientific experiment in which a volunteer is transported back in time to an incident he recalls on a pier at Orly airport. Much »
- Philip French
Of all the films that have spun an ambitious, far-reaching story out of practically nothing, Chris Marker's La Jetée still impresses for how much it manages to do with how little. The thirty-minute short tells the story of a post-apocalyptic society living beneath the surface of a ruined Earth, their attempts to travel through time to get help and their first successful test subject, a prisoner who uses his memories from before the collapse of society as an anchor to pull himself back into the past. All this in half an hour of still frames, bar a few seconds of moving footage - the opening credits bill La Jetée as a 'photo-novel'. There are virtually no effects, a couple of simple props and no dialogue »
Strigoi – The Undead
One of the truly marvellous things about horror is that every country has their own unique collection of beasts and ghouls in their folklore.
For movie fans that means we get such oddities as the long-haired ghosts of Japan's Ringu, the unusual Swedish vampires of Let The Right One In and the colossal Norwegian monsters of Troll Hunter. We also get, from Romania, the Strigoi. Part vampire, part zombie, these blood-drinking creatures are just part of the weird landscape that British director Faye Jackson pitches us into with her totally independent feature debut. It's a curious world, where a story that concerns crooked local officials and a murder mystery merges with more outlandish themes. The cheekily named Vlad, a local ex-medical student, returns to his remote town. He finds his family being swindled out of their land, but then the dead start reappearing. Jackson has her cast »
- Phelim O'Neill
Science fiction has been an important genre in filmmaking since its earliest days. Georges Méliès' A Trip To The Moon was one of the earliest and most pioneering, and marked the beginning of a long relationship between the genre of possibility and the moving image.
The way science fiction has been used in movies, however, varies widely, just as it has taken many forms in literature. Some sci-fi movies are merely horror stories draped in a futuristic cloak (see It! The Terror From Beyond Space, or its ancestor, Alien), or Arthurian fantasies with space stations instead of castles (Buck Rogers, Star Wars).
Although common in literature, the subgenre of hard science fiction, that is more interested in ideas than laser battles, is comparatively rare in cinema. »
Well we all knew this would happen. Back in February, when Criterion announced their epic digital streaming partnership with Hulu, they also quietly revealed that their streaming options on Netflix would be coming to an end over the course of the next year. While I haven’t been paying close attention to the Criterion Collection films that have been expiring since that announcement was made, I thought it would be helpful to all of you loyal Netflix subscribers to know that in about twelve days, 26 titles will be expiring on the 26th of May, 2011.
I’ve gone and linked to all of the titles below, so you can click on the cover art or the text, and be taken to their corresponding Netflix pages. While this isn’t everything that Criterion has to offer on Netflix, it is a nice chunk of really important films. If you don’t currently have a Netflix subscription, »
- Ryan Gallagher
Above: Two of three guides in Chris Marker's photography exhibit that explicitly link his vérité metro photography with classical painting.
We should thank the voracious observers among us for keeping a look out—they seem so few, amongst all the unquestioning images of the contemporary media. Foremost among mobile visionaries, if by age and certainly by reputation, is Left Bank quasi-nouvelle vague affiliate and all around proliferate and perspicacious explorer of images and interrogator of the world around us, Chris Marker. He seems to be making less films these days (but that's okay, we should cut masters a break once they hit the 90-year mark, as Marker will this summer), but he is forever curious, sowing seeds across Flickr, the video game Second Life, and seemingly every media format in between.
Marker always—for me at least—comes as a surprise, even re-watching his (tragically few) canonical works La Jetée »
Why Watch? Because sometimes we have to understand the past to understand the present. That goes for our favorite films as well. This short film, created in 1962 by Chris Marker, was the inspiration for Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys. It’s done entirely in black and white with stunning still photography – the story told by a deep-throated narrator. And that story? In Paris, after World War III, a man informs our hero that mankind is doomed and that the only salvation lies in time travel. What Will It Cost? Just 26 minutes of your time. Does it get better any better than that? Check out La Jetée for yourself: La Jetee (1962) Written and Directed By: Chris Marker Starring: Jean Négron, Hélène Chatelain, Davos Hanich, and Jacques Ledoux Trust us. You have time for more short films. »
- Cole Abaius
9 items from 2011
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