When I think about the topic of memories in Sans Soleil, my brain hurts. To try to dissect Sans Soleil is truly painful. But I think that there are two types of memory that stuck out to me from watching Sans Soleil. The first type of memory is an individual’s recent memories. This plays itself out in the scene watching people sleeping on the train and we see snippets of television shows from last night that they’re dreaming about the next day. This type of recollection is individualistic and immediate. Each person is remembering his or her own television show from the night before. On the other hand, the entire dissection of Japan’s culture is one big memory. Specifically the ceremony of burning the broken dolls as not to upset a specific deity sticks out in my mind. This seemed so absurd but everyone was doing it to commemorate the past. This type of memory is collective and is recalling a much farther past. And everyone seems to want to remember, but I’m not really sure why. Is there is reason to keep following a deity who gets upset when you throw out broken dolls? I don’t see any reason to perpetuate the insanity. But it is clearly important to them because they keep doing these seemingly absurd traditions. The memory is important to them. This is in contrast to the memory of last night’s television, which is by no means important and will soon be forgotten. That memory is fleeting. The memories of the Japanese culture are longer lasting and carry more weight with the people. I’m not going to pretend that I understand it because I don’t. But, “as Victor Burgin has noted, ‘the telling of the memory, of course, betrays it. Both in the sense of there being something private about the memory that demands it remain untold [secreted], and in the sense that to tell it is to misrepresent, to transform, to diminish it.’ ” I believe that Sans Soleil follows that notion of telling a memory is to misrepresent it. And my blurred vision of Chris Marker’s memory is truly clear in his mind (and in his mind only!)
Petley, Julian. “Sans Soleil.” International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 1: Films. 4th ed. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. p1061-1063. Word Count: 1151.
Mavor, Carol. “Happiness with a long Piece of Black leader: Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil.” Art History 30.5 (2007): 738-756. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 3 Apr. 2011.