8.1/10
7,292
32 user 49 critic

Sans soleil (1983)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Drama | 2 March 1983 (France)
"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, ... See full summary »

Director:

(as Chris. Marker)

Writer:

(as Chris. Marker)
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4 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Florence Delay ...
Narrator (French version) (voice)
...
Herself
Riyoko Ikeda ...
Narrator (Japanese version) (voice)
Charlotte Kerr ...
Narrator (German version) (voice)
...
Herself / Madeleine Elster / Judy Burton (archive footage)
...
Narrator (English version) (voice)
...
Himself / John 'Scottie' Ferguson (archive footage)
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Storyline

"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. Written by George S. Davis <mgeorges@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

2 March 1983 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Bez slonca  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$1,899 (USA) (5 December 2003)

Gross:

$30,878 (USA) (5 December 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The narration refers to the Japanese word "Tora" as the name of an individual pet cat. The literal translation of the word "Tora" in English is "Tiger". See more »

Quotes

Narrator: All women have a built-in grain of indestructibility. And men's task has always been to make them realize it as late as possible. African men are just as good at this task as others. But after a close look at African women I wouldn't necessarily bet on the men.
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Connections

Referenced in Lost in Translation (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Eastern cultures through a Western lens. Also, boring.
18 May 2005 | by (Philadelphia, USA) – See all my reviews

I'm surprised to see that so many other reviewers tolerated and even loved SANS SOLEIL. In my opinion, SANS SOLEIL is an inferior version of KAYAANISQATSI (which was released the same year): while KAYAANISQATSI lets its images of different societies, machines, and crowds speak for themselves, Chris Marker layers a monologue of pseudo-intellectual babble over his. The footage itself is pretty interesting: we see Japanese people performing ancient purification rites, some nice shots of Iceland's lunar landscape, and other scenes from societies around the world, but the voice-over pretty much ruins it. It's like a failed poet hijacked National Geographic and forced them to make SANS SOLEIL instead of something interesting. Honestly, you could probably find more meaningful prose in a teenage goth's LiveJournal.

I had a few ideological problems with the movie as well. Chris Marker (a Frenchman, I assume?) darted about in non-Western societies, viewing foreign people through a camera lens. He then mashed all the footage together, drawing inferences from the images which he then communicated to us, the (primarily Western) viewers through a voice-over. He never interviews anyone he films. His voice is the only one we hear, he is the sole authority who controls the information we receive, and as a result he can construct other cultures to fit a message of his choosing.

What to the people living in the jungle have to say about life? That's what I'd like to know. But instead we hear through Marker that they are noble savages, free in their own way despite being so primitive, practicing mystical rituals the narrator doesn't actually comprehend, etc. Even Japanese TV somehow serves to illuminate Japanese culture for Marker, despite the fact that he admits he doesn't speak Japanese and can't understand a word of what's going on! Edmund Said explores this form of representation in his book "Orientalism," but basically I see Chris Marker as the Rudyard Kipling or Marco Polo of our day. He travels abroad, reports back to us with a romanticized description of other cultures (which the cultures themselves do not contribute to directly), we accept it, and the discourse ends. We never learn anything tangible, besides the fact that Marker found this experience to be personally significant in some vague way.

Also, I had to close my ears while the narrator discusses Hitchcock's VERTIGO... I haven't seen that one yet and had a feeling Marker wouldn't include any spoiler warnings.


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