Sans Soleil and rewriting memory

I didn’t find Sans Soleil to be confusing or boring, but rather thought provoking and visually striking. The film stirred memories of an episode of a radio show entitled “radiolab” in which they discussed memory. a particular line reminded me strongly of the topic of that episode: memory. The ghostly narrator, who very well may just be the voice in our heads says, “He wrote me: I will have spent my life trying to understand the function of remembering, which is not the opposite of forgetting, but rather its lining. We do not remember, we rewrite memory much as history is rewritten. How can one remember thirst?” The radio show spoke of how memories as their recalled are re-remembered and consequently altered by feelings about those memories. They likened this process to photocopying a photocopy over and over again until the image is just a blur, hardly resembling the original. Sans Soleil plays with this when it depicts highly contrasted colored images. The use of seemingly “random” events and images also are a commentary on memory in that the memory itself can at times seem random and illogical when we experience thoughts or flashbacks of events that seem unrelated to our current circumstances. I will admit that the film seemed long, but it made a lot of sense and definitely resonates when you take the time to consider the voiceover and really search for the connection with the images aside from the literal one. Another interesting point is that the film was made in 1982. I couldn’t see this work coming out of any other decade aside from the 80s. The use of light and color, along with documentary style, seems to just fit in its natural juxtaposition in time.

Works Cited

Abumrad, Jad. “Memory and Forgetting – Radiolab.” Home – Radiolab. 07 June 2007. Web. 06 Apr. 2011. <>.

“ : Chris Marker : Sans Soleil.” : Chris Marker – Image = Text. Web. 06 Apr. 2011. <>.

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