Sans soleil

Indirectly, a scene that recalls memory in Chris Markers Sans soleil is the first mention and imagery of the cat at the temple in Tokyo. The narrator recalls his memory, the audience sees his memory though the words and images of the cat. And then, the narrator goes on to recall yet another memory of Japan and various other places in the world. So many images, so many memories recalled from his writings and personally I forgot about the cats, but soon enough the cat reappears only to disappear again, by the end of the film I remembered the cat.

The memory of the cat was not repeatedly addressed in the film like the memories of people and celebrations. “Marker is an indefatigable anti-realist: what concerns him above all are images as images, how their meanings change across time, across space, and according to the other images with which they’re placed.” (Petley) But the repeated image of the cat enforced the viewer to remember, wether or not it was the maniki neko cats, the cat on the balcony or the images of cats adjusted of the video synthesizer. Referring to the memory of the viewer in this film rather than the obvious memory of the cameraman is yet another realm or layer of the themes of time and memory in the film.

An essay film of this nature has so much crammed in that for the viewer to remember its almost as if they would have to write letters, as the cameraman has done. Intangible things are preserved by that which is tangible for the cameraman, but for the viewer making a tangible preservation of this film, as the film and letters has done for Sans soleil, would seem kind of absurd, this is a film and every person to document the experience of watching the film especially one of this nature could seem absurd, but wait, that’s what we are required to do here isn’t it?

Petley, Julian. “Sans Soleil.” International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. 4th ed. Vol. 1: Films. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. 1061-1063. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 3 Apr. 2011.

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