|Index||5 reviews in total|
Chris Markers sublime review of the millennium so far.
His camera cuts across the streets of Paris, via the métro, via TV, via the internet. the trite of politicians, the noise of demonstration marches, the poignancy of funeral processions. via the subtle gaze of girls, and the mischievous gaze of M. Chat.
These cuts, put together, provide a document of the previous 4 years, it's roots to the past, and a glimpse of its future.
- to get the most out of this film it helps to know a bit about French current affairs. - note, out of interest, the many references to surrealists, and their cultural legacy.
Alongside Sans Soleil I would recommend this movie to anyone who wants to SEE what cinema is able to do as an art form with it's complex and surprising techniques that can combine image, sound, rhythm, texture etc. Chats Perches is interesting as an idea, maybe not so rewarding for those uninterested in French life, but I don't really think that it should be seen as a movie about politics, a French Fahrenheit 9/11. I think that Marker, who is an expert in both Sci-Fi and documentary movies combines the two in order to give us a feeling of uneasiness about the things we thought we knew. His non-interference with the life he examines makes it intensely puzzling. It's like an alien race visited the Earth and couldn't understand what was happening, why are those people living like that? The use of inter-titles makes the image itself more poignant and forces the viewer to focus on it. And the intertitles are also very misleading sometimes. I don't want to go into the symbolism associated with the cats, Marker pretty much explains everything in the movie. I have a problem with giving the rating, though. I think it deserves a seven compared with Sans Soleil but I don't want to discourage other not to watch it. Compared with other stuff so far produced by the movie industry in this millennium, this one ranks high in my preferences.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Saturday May 27, 7:00pm Northwest Film Forum
Wednesday May 31, 9:30pm Northwest Film Forum
"It's a great asset in life, not to know what you're talking about."
On the locks of Canal Saint-Martin one day appeared the image of a large yellow cat. Soon this feline with the toothy grin began popping up all over Paris. Chris Marker's 'Case of the Grinning Cat' documents his amusing journey into the Metro, through parks and over rooftops in search of the infamous 'chat', while protesters took to the streets against fascism in France and America. The cat slyly sneaks onto television news and into van Eyck's Marriage of Giovanni and Giovanna Arnolfini. In one hilarious 'non-cat' moment a pigeon turns into a man, but the cat is soon back, on postage stamps and in the Louvre. "Just when you stop looking, there is a cat!" Marker rambles through everyday Parisian life for a year or two using the loosest of threads, or whiskers, tying everything together with a delightfully dry, understated and ironic humor that could only be French.
" Faites la guerre de chats pas. "
I really hated this.
Firstly, it was horribly shot - basically the editing and picture quality was comparable to a Handicam movie.
The narration was infuriating and the concept incredibly muddled.
In the end it was a documentary about almost nothing.
Was it about war, urban subcultural memes or both? It ended up not really being about neither.
Thank god it was only one hour long.
The extras on the DVD are even more depressingly pointless.
I don't understand how this even made it to DVD.
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