Sans Soleil


While it’s certainly not for everyone, Chris Marker’s 1983 film Sans Soleil (Sunless) is like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Part travelogue, part prose poem set to moving images, the film ruminates at a leisurely pace on – among other things – time, history, memory, Japanese culture, post-colonial Africa, technology, Animism, Hitchcock’s Vertigo, film making, sex, and (of course) death. I found it mesmerizing, but I can also can understand how others could find it unbearable. Here are a couple of representative samples, the first a largely silent meditation on weary faces in a Japanese train and shopping mall, the second an almost poetic treatise on a civil war in Africa (warning: this clip has some very disturbing images).