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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audio and visual images which need intense concentration
This DVD contains two of Chris Marker's works which contrast yet complement. Marker began as a photographer and writer in the 1950's, later moving into a cinematography which was highly idiosyncratic and highly influential.
"La Jetée" is in large part autobiographical, while exploring time travel and the reduction of life to frozen moments of time. It would...
Published on 19 Jun 2005 by Budge Burgess

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Product details misleading in information
In product details it states this DVD has English subtitles, however it is non existent. La Jetee comes with English voice over and French subtitles. It was very disappointing for me as I bought this DVD for my deaf son who needs to watch this DVD for his course work at uni. This product is misleading in information. Very disappointing!!! How non french deaf person...
Published 10 months ago by River


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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audio and visual images which need intense concentration, 19 Jun 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This DVD contains two of Chris Marker's works which contrast yet complement. Marker began as a photographer and writer in the 1950's, later moving into a cinematography which was highly idiosyncratic and highly influential.
"La Jetée" is in large part autobiographical, while exploring time travel and the reduction of life to frozen moments of time. It would be the basis for Terry Gilliam's "Twelve Monkeys". In a post-apocalyptic Paris, the survivors are driven underground where they experiment with time travel in order to save themselves. Told in a voice-over as you watch black and white stills flash before your eyes, the tale is at once riveting and disturbing. Your concentration shifts between audio and visual narrative, so it may be a film you need to watch two or three times to really experience it.
The film views like an animated tour through a picture gallery ... or a graphic novel. Only, you move at Marker's pace - you cannot dictate your own, you cannot stop to admire, you are driven relentlessly on. "La Jetée" alludes to Hitchcock's "Vertigo" - it makes reference to the tree rings scene - time here appearing as both circular and bounded, as a line to follow or a line to step across. You are forced to follow the rhythm and line of the moving film by stepping from still image to still image.
"Sans Soleil" continues the theme of time travel, again alluding to "Vertigo", with its concept of video postcards and letters being sent by some fictional traveller. Here Marker interweaves his own moving and still images with those of others. Again, Marker is combining a visual and an audio narrative, but this time with greater complexity and dynamism. It can be an exhausting watch/listen as you try to follow the momentum of sound and vision. Again, it's a film you have to go back to and watch again and again.
Marker presents some astonishing images of conflict and ritual, emphasising that not remembering is not the same as forgetting. Images get imprinted on your brain. Many you may not remember. Some you will forget. But the forgotten can be re-awoken.
He delivers graphic images of resistance and political struggle - including synthesised footage of the police/student confrontations in Japan in the 1960's. He flits from Japan to Iceland, to guerrilla struggles in Guinea-Bissau, to the hideous vision of a giraffe being shot, its death struggle played out in full, dying colour. He looks at ritual and superstition, at a temple for cats which is populated by regiments of porcelain feline caricatures.
Marker's is a commentary on youth as well as on politics, on how we acquire identity and how society enforces it, on how we perceive knowledge - does our society condemn us to predestined knowledge and understanding, or can we have freewill to discover what we know and learn for ourselves rather than be taught? We are not able to create our own language - we are indoctrinated into the one prevalent in our society - so how can we claim that our thoughts, our visions, our values are our own and not something constructed for us by society?
Marker demonstrates that the camera can look at the world in a way in which the human eye cannot. He produces pictures of the extraordinary and the mundane. But, again, he controls the pace. You are driven relentlessly along - maybe forgetting some of what has been shown, maybe simply not remembering because you were concentrating on the dialogue?
Marker echoes the pace of modern life and its depersonalisation - you see exactly the same images as everyone else watching this film, yet which ones will impress you? What will these images mean, to you? Memory is your own opportunity to reconstruct the pace of time and to juxtapose image against emotion and the unique of your inner world.
These two films demand intense concentration. They are hardly a relaxed watch. But Marker poses questions highly relevant to anyone with an interest in the modern world and human consciousness, never mind anyone interested in making or taking films. The DVD offers some entertaining and informative extras which enhance you enjoyment of the main features, and the two works complement one another neatly. A demanding but highly rewarding coupling.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audio and visual images which need intense concentration, 5 July 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This DVD contains two of Chris Marker's works which contrast yet complement. Marker began as a photographer and writer in the 1950's, later moving into a cinematography which was highly idiosyncratic and highly influential.
"La Jetée" is in large part autobiographical, while exploring time travel and the reduction of life to frozen moments of time. It would be the basis for Terry Gilliam's "Twelve Monkeys". In a post-apocalyptic Paris, the survivors are driven underground where they experiment with time travel in order to save themselves. Told in a voice-over as you watch black and white stills flash before your eyes, the tale is at once riveting and disturbing. Your concentration shifts between audio and visual narrative, so it may be a film you need to watch two or three times to really experience it.
The film views like an animated tour through a picture gallery ... or a graphic novel. Only, you move at Marker's pace - you cannot dictate your own, you cannot stop to admire, you are driven relentlessly on. "La Jetée" alludes to Hitchcock's "Vertigo" - it makes reference to the tree rings scene - time here appearing as both circular and bounded, as a line to follow or a line to step across. You are forced to follow the rhythm and line of the moving film by stepping from still image to still image.
"Sans Soleil" continues the theme of time travel, again alluding to "Vertigo", with its concept of video postcards and letters being sent by some fictional traveller. Here Marker interweaves his own moving and still images with those of others. Again, Marker is combining a visual and an audio narrative, but this time with greater complexity and dynamism. It can be an exhausting watch/listen as you try to follow the momentum of sound and vision. Again, it's a film you have to go back to and watch again and again.
Marker presents some astonishing images of conflict and ritual, emphasising that not remembering is not the same as forgetting. Images get imprinted on your brain. Many you may not remember. Some you will forget. But the forgotten can be re-awoken.
He delivers graphic images of resistance and political struggle - including synthesised footage of the police/student confrontations in Japan in the 1960's. He flits from Japan to Iceland, to guerrilla struggles in Guinea-Bissau, to the hideous vision of a giraffe being shot, its death struggle played out in full, dying colour. He looks at ritual and superstition, at a temple for cats which is populated by regiments of porcelain feline caricatures.
Marker's is a commentary on youth as well as on politics, on how we acquire identity and how society enforces it, on how we perceive knowledge - does our society condemn us to predestined knowledge and understanding, or can we have freewill to discover what we know and learn for ourselves rather than be taught? We are not able to create our own language - we are indoctrinated into the one prevalent in our society - so how can we claim that our thoughts, our visions, our values are our own and not something constructed for us by society?
Marker demonstrates that the camera can look at the world in a way in which the human eye cannot. He produces pictures of the extraordinary and the mundane. But, again, he controls the pace. You are driven relentlessly along - maybe forgetting some of what has been shown, maybe simply not remembering because you were concentrating on the dialogue?
Marker echoes the pace of modern life and its depersonalisation - you see exactly the same images as everyone else watching this film, yet which ones will impress you? What will these images mean, to you? Memory is your own opportunity to reconstruct the pace of time and to juxtapose image against emotion and the unique of your inner world.
These two films demand intense concentration. They are hardly a relaxed watch. But Marker poses questions highly relevant to anyone with an interest in the modern world and human consciousness, never mind anyone interested in making or taking films. The DVD offers some entertaining and informative extras which enhance you enjoyment of the main features, and the two works complement one another neatly. A demanding but highly rewarding coupling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece and then a manifesto, 26 Jan 2007
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The first film is a dense little masterpiece in black and white without any budget nor special effects, or so few. A child sees something, some event he does not understand and the world is destroyed right after that. The child will survive and his memory with him. Years later he falls in the hands of a mad doctor who sends him in the past where he meets a woman and falls for her. Then the doctor sends him to the future and the man discovers the future is ready to accept them and that humanity has survived provided a few adaptations producing a world without any war, social problems and shortages. The traditional romantic idealism.

But one day the doctor sends him to the exact time of his recollection and he discovers that the child he was actually saw his own arrival there and his getting shot on the spot. You can then more or less, according to your morbidity, reflect on the meaning of this event: an outsider from the future arrives and is killed on the spot. Not bad at all. But worse indeed is the fact that we must have reached the sixth dimension since time works in both directions simultaneously and space is no longer in anyway two-dimensional and aging. Is that relativity the result of the fact we can look at any space and time from different points of view? The answer has to be positive of course. Post-modernism is the law. The present contains the future and is the future of the past it contains too.

The second film is the illustration of the letters of some traveler who travels a lot in Japan, some in Australia and from time to time in Africa, Guinea Bissau precisely. It is a film on rites and rituals having to do with life and death, trying to accommodate death so that we can survive a little bit more than expected. Life is always a survival and not an end in itself. This is very Buddhist but the filmmaker is trying to make it general.

The interest then when he speaks of the guerrilla warfare in Guinea Bissau is not the communist guerrilla warfare itself that will eventually turn socialist and then realist, but in fact the side remark that in Europe it brought the Portuguese fascist dictatorship down but that it also made the Europeans suddenly dream of a new revolution. It sure was a revolution (dedicated to carnations) in Portugal and then there was the post-Franco era in Spain, but the revolution was a dream in the corner of a narrow-minded communist leader in Portugal and very fast things went back to the democratic order and the soldiers went back to their barracks and let elections decide on who will be governing the country.

This is the real discourse of this second film, emphasized by the killing of a giraffe whose objective was nothing but the final and lethal bullet in its head since the repast, the banquet, the feast will be for a band of vultures. The discourse becomes general then. Life is always the result of death. Something has to die for something else to live, but if you try to force this historical movement, you produce quite a lot more death than life and anyway the vultures will come and put things back in place. It is the vision of Buddhist rites, prayers and meditation in parallel with the tranquil walk of some emus that represent the natural course of history and we do not have the right to get out of the lane: dangerous and useless.

The allusion to Hitchcock's film Vertigo is typical: the prey is in fact attracting the predator and the prey knows she/he is doing that, even if the chauvinistic predator considers he/she leads the game, from behind mind you as if the prey were on a leash, but when a farmer takes a pig to the market with a rope around its neck, who leads who? The farmer or the pig?

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure inspiration, 25 April 2011
By 
N. Lazaridis - See all my reviews
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I am at a loss trying to describe my thoughts & feelings with this movie, as my mind struggles to grasp it in its full extent.

Perhaps the most important thing I can say about this movie is the very first thing that came into my mind the first time I saw it: pure inspiration. Inspiration in all aspects of movie making. I literally haven't come across anything similar on the silver screen (and/or my home cinema) and neither do I expect anyone to attempt a similar feat (because that's what it trully is). Of course, there are a lot of directors and screen writers that are extremely inspired and whose inspired works we have enjoyed over the years. I dare say though that this is in a league of its own.

The best way to enjoy this movie is to not know anything about it (like it was with me). So, if you are reading hard all these reviews that contain information & analyses about the plot, you will get carried away before the movie even starts. I think that this is a movie that gives itself to a lot of analysis and I am sure that many people will have attempted this - and for good reason.

But my advice stands: leave all these for after you have seen this movie. And definitely see it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sans Pareil as they say on the Boulevard St Michel, 24 Oct 2013
This review is from: La Jetee / Sans Soleil [DVD] [1962] (DVD)
La Jetee is undoubtedly a formal triumph and its best to come to it without knowing anything in my view, so if you've no idea, I'm not going to spoil it by even hinting unlike others. So the review falls back on phrases like: unlike anything else, fascinating, experimental but with a clear narrative, challenging, dark, universally about time, memory, desire, loss, the human condition etc but not so you'll get bored. There are moments because of the form however, where you will feel time passing slowly. And there is one moment of supreme almost spine-tingling pure cinema which (because of the form) is unique I think, in all film. I hope I've not spoilt it for anyone who comes to this review first. Sans Soleil is more difficult, longer, fascinating and sometimes a little discomforting, nonetheless and utterly different from La Jetee. There is no plot or narrative in the traditional sense: a kind of documentary but utterly unlike any documentary you'll see and it may leave you drained but elated with its myriad images and intellectual/cinematic interconnectedness.
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4.0 out of 5 stars best still images film, 6 Mar 2013
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This review is from: La Jetee / Sans Soleil [DVD] [1962] (DVD)
Though made quite a long time before, undoubtedly remains one of the best if not the best film so far made entirely from still images.
It's not long, nut may better of for the type of film and the way it's been made considering stills only.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Son was thrilled, 9 April 2010
By 
Mrs. Veronica Murray (Dorchester,Dorset) - See all my reviews
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I can't comment personally on this product as it was a gift for my son, but he was very pleased - especially as it turned out to be a double feature DVD!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help us find Chris Marker's shorts!, 3 Feb 2012
By 
This review is from: La Jetee / Sans Soleil [DVD] [1962] (DVD)
Chris Marker and short films (Varda, Resnais) by the Rive Gauche

Chris Marker (born 29 July 1921) is often associated with the Left Bank Cinema movement that occurred in the late 1950s and included such other filmmakers as Alain Resnais, Agnès Varda, Henri Colpi and Armand Gatti. Film theorist Roy Armes has said of him: <Marker is unclassifiable because he is unique...The French Cinema has its dramatists and its poets, its technicians, and its autobio-graphers, but only has one true essayist: Chris Marker>. His best known films are Lettre de Sibérie (1957), La jetée (1962), A Grin Without a Cat (1977), Sans Soleil (1983) and AK (1985), an essay film on the Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.

Availability of Marker's films, at least for the time being - except La jetée and Sans soleil, which, if seen singly, are not necessarily his best - is close to nil. So unless you are near the cinématèque of a world cultural city, or a film-teaching university, you may never get to see them. This is a typical problem of the short film, where anything not fitting the two hour interval (including a ten minute break to sell ice cream, a solid income component of movie house operators) is doomed. Traditionally shown and appreciated as firsts in less ice cream based economies like film clubs, they seem to have not much of an afterlife. Dutchman Joris Ivens (1898-1989), however, next to Marker the really (yes, let's say it:) ONLY OTHER GREAT film essayist, for the occasion of one of his anniversaries, has been honoured with a five box complete dvd collection. So it can be done.

The shorts situation of Agnès Varda is best - in her collected works on dvd, literally all is assembled, including such treasures as Du côté de la côte (1958). A bit more difficult are the shorts of Alain Resnais, which exist dispersed in many forms, formats and languages, but his Toute la mémoire du monde (1956, on the (old) French National Library) and others can be found relatively easily. The regret with Marker is, to reiterate our point, that his production, which by its uniqueness and in its entirety, has influenced the Rive gauche and much other new and short film making, should only be available in such random and rudimentary fashion. Can anybody help?

55 - 3 February 2012
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unconventional Film, 21 Sep 2012
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This review is from: La Jetee / Sans Soleil [DVD] [1962] (DVD)
Though La Jetee is only a short film, the story is told in a very unconventional style that makes one shock. It even pre-dates Matrix as some of the scene shows. It ranks pretty high in the recent Sight & Sound Greatest Film Critics' Poll. The final scene is especially impressive. I simply fell in love with this film at the first viewing, and I would definitely view it for many times in the years to come. If you are a serious film lover, you sure would enjoy this film as I do. Highly recommended.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars striking and sincere, albeit cryptic., 2 Jan 2012
By 
tallmanbaby (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: La Jetee / Sans Soleil [DVD] [1962] (DVD)
Chris Marker (french born 1921) is a legendary film-maker in avant garde circles. La Jetee is credited as an inspiration to the Gilliam film 12 Monkeys.

LA JETEE - most people are probably familiar with the vague outline of this film. It is less than half an hour long and consists mainly of black and white still images, and is about time travel. Marker turns what might be limitations into real strengths. Although it consists of still images, they are striking and convey a strong evocative story. The film is not hurried, but manages to say a great deal in its short running time. The real strength though is the script, slightly askew, the deadpan tone ensures that it never becomes contrived or mawkish. This is one of those films that scares you because you worry that it is somehow going to go wrong, and somehow stop being as good as it is, but the ending is perfectly judged and even manages to better what went before.

SANS SOLEIL - is an odd film, it consists of narrated excerpts from fictional letters, and clips of film. Mostly these are handheld, and are rather artless footage, mainly from Japan, but also from Africa and Iceland. There are some concrete themes, and some recurring philosophical themes, memory and time. While visually the film is quite artless, the narrative is quite philosophical, in a rather french post-modern way. I've just seen it once, and although it was never dull, I was not entirely caught up by it. Some people do however rate it amongst the greatest films ever made. I would caution that it is not suitable for everyone, there is a surprising amount of non-titilating nudity, and non-dramatic violence, for example the graphic shooting of a giraffe. The 15 certificate is somewhat questionable.

Of the two, I think that La Jetee comfortably justifies the purchase, and Sans Soleil is worth watching, though unlikely to be to everyone's taste.

No extras to speak of, but there is a choice of language for the narrations.
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