Sans Soleil | Chicago Reader

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100 minutes · 2013

Essay
Chris Marker's 1982 masterpiece is one of the key nonfiction films of our time—a personal philosophical essay that concentrates mainly on contemporary Tokyo but also includes footage shot in Iceland, Guinea-Bissau, and San Francisco (where the filmmaker tracks down all the locations from Hitchcock's Vertigo). Difficult to describe and almost impossible to summarize, this poetic journal of a major French filmmaker radiates in all directions, exploring and reflecting upon many decades of experience. While Marker's brilliance as a thinker and filmmaker has largely (and unfairly) been eclipsed by Godard's, there is conceivably no film in the entire Godard canon that has as much to say about the state of the world, and the wit and beauty of Marker's highly original form of discourse leave a profound aftertaste. A film about subjectivity, death, photography, social custom, and consciousness itself, Sans Soleil registers like a poem one might find in a time capsule.

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