I found the film to be very interesting in how the director cleverly used juxtaposed images to make a connection for memory. This can clearly be seen towards the beginning of the film. The film starts with a black screen with the subtitles, “The first image he told me about was of three children on a road in Iceland, in 1965.” Following the subtitles is the image of three children walking across, smiling and directly looking at the camera. The scene returns to the black screen with the subtitles, “He said that for him it was the image of happiness and also that he had tried several times to link it to other images, but it never worked.” The following scene is of a jet desending into the ground with the subtitles that followed saying, “He wrote me: one day I’ll have to put it all alone at the beginning of a film with a long piece of black leader; if they don’t see happiness in the picture, at least they’ll see the black.” The black screen is shown again after the jet descends. Memory is being addressed here by the narrator because she is recalling the specific year. The image of the children walking along the road goes along with what the narrator is describing, the viewers are taken back to a nostalgic point of view from the narrator. The scene with the jet going underground has nothing to do with the children being described but it seems that the narrator is going back and forth between memories, making the beginning of the film more effective.
I think this type of film is appropriate for exploring this theme because it makes the audience work by linking what the narrator is saying and what is being shown. It is not your typical narrative story that is filmed. It is making the audience work by thinking and trying to put the concept together. It is a challenging film and I think that’s what makes it work.
Mavor, C. Happiness with a Long Piece of Black Leader: Chris Marker’s “Sans Soleil”. Art History v. 30 no. 5 (November 2007) p. 738-56