Paris 2002. Yellow cats appears on the walls. Chris Marker is looking for these mysterious cats and captures with his camera the political and international events of these last two years (war in Iraq...).
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Monsieur Chat is a character (a yellow grinning cat) which appeared on Paris walls at the beginning of the years 2000. Following its steps, Chris Marker is depicting the very recent french history (elections, demonstrations, state scandals etc.) through the perceptive eye of this strange graffiti... Written by
A playful and contemplative film -- perhaps even a call to action.
First off, I give this film the somewhat arbitrary rating of an "8" solely in comparison to other works by Marker (it is quite difficult to rate Marker's films in comparison to anybody else's work but his own -- which is unfortunate since no one has come along in the last fifty years who makes films on par with his -- if Lynch delved into nonfiction he might come close...). As a form of cinematic essay it is both provocative and meditative: "Grinning Cat" makes keen observations and provides insightful commentary on the current state of political activism and also plays with our expectations about non-fiction film-making, inviting contemplation on the ambiguity of reading visual culture. The film's structure feeds the viewer's interest while challenging our ability to readily take what we see as "pure fact." The politically-oriented commentary is poetically delivered and is a much needed dose of analysis that those of us in North America are rarely given in more popular, didactically political fiction and nonfiction films. Like a piece o abstract art or thickly composed piece of literature, Marker's latest film deserves and requires a second, perhaps even a third, look. It's film for reflection and contemplation, and perhaps even a call to action.
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