Day 97: Sunrise 2017 + ‘Le Jetee’ 1962 + ‘Sans Soleil’ 1983

Sunrise 2017

Just got home after working on another (daytime) project filming the sun rise over the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 4K at 0623. Wow, just the right amount of cloud. Spectacular 4K results.

‘Le Jetee’ 1962

‘Sans Soleil’ 1983

I decided to do a double-header again. I’ve written articles (rough as guts) on Jules et Jim and Le Dernier Metro; The 400 Blows; Stolen Kisses and The Story of Adele H as well as a recent film, mother! I decided not to watch Truffaut’s Mississippi Mermaid, Fahrenheit 451, Bed and Board, and move on.

I knocked two films off the list by watching these two French films by Chris Marker this week. These are as extraordinary as some of the other offbeat films I’ve come across so far. It’s not regular filmmaking. That’s the difference between the majority of the films I’ve seen so far in this quest. Standard filmmaking which tells a story with an arc of emotion, a building of tension, resulting in a climax, is the basis of almost all films made – even by the avant-garde.

Man with a Movie Camera, Au Hasard Balthazar and 2001: A Space Odyssey are exceptions, even within these directors’ larger bodies of work. Both of Chris Marker’s films defy standard storytelling techniques. The first is told entirely with photographs and a fake documentary style narration. The second is a similar style with images the director has shot himself as well as footage from stock libraries and a commentary narrated by a fictional person who has received letters about the world the filmmaker has recently seen.

Sans Soleil is a sermon, preached in a relentless manner by a voice which is dispassionate yet still weary with the acceptance of the terrible things the filmmaker has observed. I keep hitting the display button to find how much more there is to go. First it is only 26 minutes out of 1h37m, then 43 minutes out of 1h37m. I understand a lot about what it says about Japan, but is this a bullying indictment of one nation or an encompassing statement about the people on this planet?

Sans Soleil is a full-on (fake) documentary of opinions and observations by Chris Marker. It’s very intense and broaches many subjects, particularly focusing on the Japanese people. The emphasis is on dissecting the Japanese way of life: their culture, behaviour, attitudes, ethics and standards. It’s completely fascinating and if it was spread over three 30-minute episodes or two 50-minute programs, it would be less overwhelming. There are so many thoughts in these two films that I’d like more time to absorb the material, rather than act as a stand-byer witnessing bullet after bullet fired mercilessly, until it’s an avalanche.