Monday, November 10, 2008

Sans Soleil, Sans Magique

I saw Sans Soleil today, a documentary from the director Chris Marker. The movie is a meditation about memory and shows images from countries like Japan and Guinea, while a woman reads a letter supposedly sent by a cameraman to her. I didn’t like the movie, but I have to admit that I did enjoy some parts. Although I don't agree with some things that are said, the text is very beautiful and results very well with the images. I liked all the references to animals, "each year death takes a panda as dragons do young girls in fairy tales", and I appreciate very much the commentaries and images on Hitchcock's Vertigo.

In a global evaluation I didn't liked the movie mainly because of the editing. I didn't like the long cuts and the black raccord, neither the close-ups of really violent images coming from nowhere. I believe that most of them are random and pointless.
This need from the director to shock the viewers, takes me to my main point about this movie. Although the theme is the memory and the human nature, I believe the plot has a very strong politic message. I don't mind that movies work as political propaganda, but I require that they are clear about it. My father fought in the colonial war in Guinea, and like many others, he was forced to be there. What the movie says about portuguese soldiers, and the sequence of images that connects the war in Guinea to the heartless killing of animals, just upset me very much.

You can read the film narration in english in here.

PS- I saw the movie with english narration, when the original is french. Focusing on Julia Kristeva's ideas about translation, I think the movie looses a lot. You don't need to go further the title to understand this: Sans Soleil sounds much more appropriate that Sunless...

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