Film Response – Sans Soleil

Chris Marker’s essay film, Sans Soleil (or Sunless in English), is definately one of the more bizare films I have seen. The film shows scenes mostly in Japan and Africa, with constant narration read by a French woman. The style of the essay film is new to me, and this is the first essay film I have seen. An essay film is usually centered on a theme, and blends many different styles together. The themes focused on inĀ  Sans Soleil have to do with both memory and travel. The memory theme can be related to space, while the travel can be related to time. The film is a postmodern film, so the dreamlike flow and rejection of standard narratives is expected.

Throughout the film, the theme of memory is constantly brought up and reminds the viewer about the complexity of the subject. A scene that stands out to me is the scene where tourists take a picture in front of a site where there was a collective suicide. In this case, it is the lack of memory that is shown by Marker. Memory is shown as something confusing in the film. It makes one wonder how did humans remember before there were cameras and films. This is where time travel and space come into the film as well, a quality common in an essay film.

Overall, I found the film quite confusing, and a bit dry for my tastes I would have to watch it a few times to fully grasp what I witnessed. While watching the film though, I felt the random change of scenery was very illuminating towards the eye, and kept me eager to hear more and view more throughout the film.

Works Cited

MAVOR, CAROL. “HAPPINESS WITH A LONG PIECE OF BLACK LEADER: CHRIS MARKER’S SANS SOLEIL.” Art History 30.5 (2007): 738-756. Film & Television Literature Index. EBSCO. Web. 31 Mar. 2011.

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