IMDb > Sans Soleil (1983)
Sans soleil
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Sans Soleil (1983) More at IMDbPro »Sans soleil (original title)

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Overview

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Director:
Writer:
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View company contact information for Sans Soleil on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
2 March 1983 (France) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
"He wrote me...." A woman narrates the thoughts of a world traveler, meditations on time and memory... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
In the entire history of cinema, there have been only two truly important, indispensible, founding films - this is one of them. See more (29 total) »

Cast

 
Florence Delay ... Narrator (French version) (voice)

Arielle Dombasle ... Herself
Riyoko Ikeda ... Narrator (Japanese version) (voice)
Charlotte Kerr ... Narrator (German version) (voice)

Kim Novak ... Herself / Madeleine Elster / Judy Burton (archive footage)
Alexandra Stewart ... Narrator (English version) (voice)

James Stewart ... Himself / John 'Scottie' Ferguson (archive footage)
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Directed by
Chris Marker  (as Chris. Marker)
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Chris Marker  (as Chris. Marker)

Original Music by
Chris Marker  (as Michel Krasna)
 
Cinematography by
Chris Marker  (as Sandor Krasna)
 
Film Editing by
Chris Marker  (as Chris. Marker)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Pierre Camus .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Paul Bertault .... sound mixer
Antoine Bonfanti .... sound mixer
 
Special Effects by
Chris Marker .... special effects (as Hayao Yamaneko)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Arthur Cloquet .... assistant camera
Ghislain Cloquet .... assistant camera
Eric Dumage .... assistant camera
Dominique Gentil .... assistant camera
Jimmy Glasberg .... assistant camera
Kazuko Kawakita .... assistant camera
Pierre Lhomme .... assistant camera
Tom Luddy .... assistant camera
 
Editorial Department
Catherine Adda .... assistant editor
Anne-Marie Lhote .... assistant editor
 
Thanks
Eugenio Bentivoglio .... acknowledgment: archive footage (segment: Guerrilla in Bissau)
Jean-Michel Humeau .... acknowledgment: archive footage (segment: Graduation Ceremony)
Mario Marret .... acknowledgment: archive footage (segment: Guerrilla in Bissau)
Sana Na N'Hada .... acknowledgment: archive footage (segment: Bissau Carnival)
Haroun Tazieff .... acknowledgment: archive footage (segment: Iceland 1970)
Danièle Tessier .... acknowledgment: archive footage (segment: Death of a Giraffe)
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Sans soleil" - France (original title)
"Sunless" - International (English title) (informal literal title)
"Without Sun" - International (English title)
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Runtime:
USA:100 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Black and White (archive footage) | Color
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

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:Rumour has it that every third-world a leader coined the same phrase the morning after independence. "Now the real problems start." Cabral never got a chance to say it: he was assassinated first. But the problems started, and went on, and are still going on. Rather unexciting problems for revolutionary romanticism: to work, to produce, to distribute, to overcome postwar exhaustion, temptations of power and privilege. Ah well...See more »
Movie Connections:
References Stalker (1979)See more »

FAQ

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81 out of 104 people found the following review useful.
In the entire history of cinema, there have been only two truly important, indispensible, founding films - this is one of them., 31 October 2000
Author: Alice Liddel (-darragh@excite.com) from dublin, ireland

'Sans Soleil' opens with a ferry trip to Japan, with the camera peering at sleeping passengers. This is a perfect encapsulation of the film as a whole, a beautiful mixture of journey and dream. The film is ostensibly a documentary, that holier-than-thou genre convinced of its own superior truthfulness. And the film is full of documentary images, snapshots from the faraway places Marker visits, Japan, Africa, South America, San Francisco, Iceland, Paris. The film is full of the observations of the filmmaker about the cultures he observes.

But 'Sans Soleil' couldn't soar further from the prosaic ambitions of the documentary. Like the film it most resembles, Marker's own 'La Jetee', it is in fact a work of science fiction, as much about time travel as literal travel. Each place Marker visits is stripped of its familiarity, and made eerie, alien. Concrete images become springboards for dizzy philosophical speculations. The film moves with ease from the court of 11th century Imperial Japan to the revolutionary struggles in 1960s Africa to emus on the Ile de France to an interpretation of Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' to astrological rumination on a desert beach, and still remains thematically coherent and full of the most startling connections.

It is this structure that creates the feel of science fiction, the linking of seemingly disparate images, symbols, stories, experiences, places to create a strange pattern which emanates something spiritual, that seems to make sense of increasing chaos, dislocation, displacement. But we are constantly reminded that these are secular, man-made, ad-hoc, arbitrary constructions, as phantom as the relationship in 'La Jetee', but, similarly, a necessary construction to cover the abyss.

The distortion of the soundtrack, the mixture of silence and mooged classics; the computer visuals of Marker's friend, known as The Zone, which seep conventional, representational images and turn them into ghosts, traces, stripped of history, recognisability, humanity; the film's fictional framework (the narrative comprises letters to the narrator by the filmmaker, Sandor Krasna) all add to this unsettling science fiction appropriation of the documentary genre.

When the history of cinema comes to be written in centuries to come, there will really only be two films that will survive from its first century, films dense, supple, playful, renewable enough, and full of enough possibilities for future direction, to transcend the local, the generic, the pretentious, the narrative. One is that final gasp of modernist cinema, 'Vertigo'; the other is this epitome of post-modernity. in many ways, 'Sans Soleil' is a stunning exegisis on Hitchcock's masterpiece (which had only just been re-released after two-decades withdrawel), echoing its circular structure, its concern with time, memory, the elusiveness of history.

'Soleil' locates the crisis of post-modernity in Japan, that most modern of modern capitalist societies. With the curiosity of an anthropologist, the good humour of an essayist, and the eye for the unusual of a rare filmmaker, Marker gives us a Japan we rarely see, even in the country's own cinema; on the one hand a culture of startling modernity, leading the way in computers, technology, department stores etc., on the other full of residual traditions, rituals, superstitions, ceremonies, going back centuries. The co-existence of these two time-scales has resulted in a kind of blur, a temporal vacuum, whereby all sense of time and perspective is lost, where religious ceremonies for the souls of stray pets co-exist with state-of-the-art video games.

Japan is like a ship that has lost its anchor, where all time is the same, and therefore irrelevant, just as Scottie Ferguson wanders around dazed, in a loop of fantasy and distorted memory. Without history, memory, a culture ceases to be a culture and lays itself open to all sorts of vulnerability. But this lack of foundation ironically leads to a greater freedom, particularly of the mind, and the film, as it reaches its conclusion, becomes visionary and hallucinatory.

'Soleil' is anything but bleak - its stories, myths, cultural tidbits, observations are unfailingly entertaining and full of good humour. Krasna compares the overcultured, saturated Japan to the timeless emptiness of Africa, to the spooky otherworldliness of Iceland, as his 'objective' narrative becomes increasingly a personal odyssey that must be teased out from hints and ellipses. In its focusing on the minutae, the forgotten, the arcane, the ephemeral, the back alleys, the garbage, but suggesting that 'Soleil' is ultimately only one film out of a possible multitude made possible by new technologies, Marker's film is at once profoundly democratic yet exhilaratingly idiosyncratic; an apocalyptic vision teeming with life.

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