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 »
A lonely widowed housewife does her daily chores, takes care of her apartment where she lives with her teenage son, and turns the occasional trick to make ends meet. However, something happens that changes her safe routine.
A woman returning home falls asleep and has vivid dreams that may or may not be happening in reality. Through repetitive images and complete mismatching of the objective view of time and space, her dark inner desires play out on-screen.
"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 <email@example.com>
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 »
He wrote me: curiosity of course, and the glimmer of industrial espionage in the eye-I imagine them bringing out within two years time a more efficient and less expensive version of Catholicism-but there's also the fascination associated with the sacred, even when it's someone else's.
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Eastern cultures through a Western lens. Also, boring.
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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