Chris Marker’s film, Sans Soleil, is an essay film that is meant for what the images stand for not what is literally being shown. As Carol Mavor states it, this film’s beauty lies within its blackness. The film begins with a black screen showing the words in ash white, “I know that time is always time and place is always only place.” As confusing as it sounds, this film is put together the same way someones mind/memory is; jumpy, confusing, and ultimately a flashback of someones experiences. Utilizing these themes and techniques the film would generally cut back and forth between Tokyo and the Bijagós Islands. Immediately through contrast it is a clear distinction how different the life and culture in these two locations are from each other. Along with this comparison theme going on in this random film, it touched on another aspect. This feeling that everywhere you went, you were being watched. “But the more you watch Japanese television… the more you feel it’s watching you”. Consecutive shots were then shown of murals, statues and other items that were all focused around the eyes and the appearance that they were literally watching you. “When you are in Marker’s sunless cinema, you lose your location, your perspective, your linear mind”. Mavor continues on with how the film develops around the darkness of its title and a long piece of black leader. I can agree that this film by no means puts you in a positive happy mood. Regardless i enjoyed it, and it is best understood when you don’t try to understand what is going on, but just sit back and let everything soak in because the film was made this way, to recreate the marvelous way in which our minds work.
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. 3 Apr. 2011.