Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme's LE JOLI MAI (The Lovely Month of May) is a portrait of Paris and Parisians during May 1962;the first springtime of peace after the ceasefire with Algeria ...
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This documentary tells the story of film director Aleksandr Medvedkin, throughout his life a sincere believer in communism, whose films were repeatedly banned in the Soviet Union. Modern ... See full summary »
The French computer programmer Laura inherits the task of making a computer game of the Battle of Okinawa during World War II. She searches the internet for information on the battle, and ... See full summary »
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...).
While filming the Olympics, a filmmaker encounters a Japanese girl. Manchurian born and French educated, she's an intriguing anomaly. He films her around Tokyo, as she speaks of Japan, being Japanese and her unique perspective on life.
1967, one year before may '68. The strike at the Rhodiaceta textile plant in Besançon sounds like the rehearsal of the rising to come. Indeed for the first time ever, the workers' claims ... See full summary »
Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme's LE JOLI MAI (The Lovely Month of May) is a portrait of Paris and Parisians during May 1962;the first springtime of peace after the ceasefire with Algeria and the first time in 23 years that France was not involved in any war.Written by
Among personalities viewed in the streets of Paris, this documentary shows directors Jean-Luc Godard (driving his car), Alain Resnais (as a pedestrian) , Jean Rouch (taking a drink in a bar). See more »
Saddened by Chris Marker's recent passing, I felt a desire to watch one of his films. I loved Sans Soliel and La Jetee but had never watched Le Joli Mai, one of his most famous movies. Unfortunately, in America, Le Joli Mai is hard to come by. I was only able to track down a shorter version (about two hours) which was not of great quality and stingy on the subtitles. Despite these irritations, I mostly enjoyed my viewing experience. Marker has set out to capture a specific place at a specific time (Paris in May of 1962). He interviews the old and the young, stockbrokers and working men, couples in love and a woman in prison. Along the way, Marker treats us to his meditations on life, civic responsibility, and, of course, pictures of cats (Marker loves cats). I did not find any references to Vertigo (Marker's favorite film), but maybe I was not paying close enough attention.
The best interviews in Le Joli Mai focus on citizens who have experienced conflict. The communist priest was my favorite. I also found the interviews with an Algerian laborer and an African immigrant to be fascinating. The concluding interview with a woman (off camera) in prison grounded the film in reality. Marker is not interested in giving the viewer a picture postcard look at Paris. Rather, Marker digs deeper to show the viewer what tourists do not see and interview people tourists do not meet. It is also clear that the interviewer (Marker, I assume) is taken aback by the political apathy that some of his subjects express. However, the film never takes easy swipes or becomes an ego project the way some more recent documentaries have a tendency to. The funniest moment is when the interviewer tries to convince a salesman to go to the cinema and watch Last Year at Marienbad. Needless to say, the man is skeptical. His taste in film is very different to Marker's more intellectual preferences.
Le Joli Mai, at least in the shortened cut I saw, is not up there with Sans Soliel, but it does deserve to be more widely available in the United States. Perhaps now that Marker is dead, some distributor will take a chance on Le Joli Mai.
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