Our memories are in fact the key to time travel. They link the past to present throught the minds of the people who remember them. How exactly are memories crystallized. The closest and fullest way they are brought into fruition is through images. We can give them form in photographs, cinema and even painting.
Sans Soleil is a perfect example of memories brought into fruition by way of cinema. In the movie, we are inundated with countless images of seemingly unrelated material. There are images from Japan and Africa, as well as other places which do not correlate in any possible way. But in fact they do. They share a very common similarity that is crucial to Marker’s message; that which makes the notion of Time Travel so reasonable to us. All of his clips have the relationship of time and space. Marker pays special attention to “eras” and places, making sure their specifics are well recorded, despite making little superficial sense to his audience.
The idea of time travel is one that is not completely foreign to Marker. He has also played with the idea in the essay film La Jetée: a film composed entirely of still photographs coupled with the narration of a man who travels back to a pre-apocalyptic world in order to save the future.
So too, Sans Soleil lives in the world of 4001 A.D. with it’s memories rooted deeply in the past.