This documentary tells the story of film director Aleksandr Medvedkin, throughout his life a sincere believer in communism, whose films were repeatedly banned in the Soviet Union. Modern ... See full summary »
The French computer programmer Laura inherits the task of making a computer game of the Battle of Okinawa during World War II. She searches the internet for information on the battle, and ... See full summary »
While filming the Olympics, a filmmaker encounters a Japanese girl. Manchurian born and French educated, she's an intriguing anomaly. He films her around Tokyo, as she speaks of Japan, being Japanese and her unique perspective on life.
Paris 2002. Yellow cats appears on the walls. Chris Marker is looking for these mysterious cats and captures with his camera the political and international events of these last two years (war in Iraq...).
Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme's LE JOLI MAI (The Lovely Month of May) is a portrait of Paris and Parisians during May 1962;the first springtime of peace after the ceasefire with Algeria ... See full summary »
The untranslatable French title is a play on words suggesting that revolution was in the air but not on the ground. The English title, "A Grin without a Cat", has a similar meaning. Director Chris Marker has given it the subtitle "Scenes from the Third World War 1967-1977". See more »
Originally released in 1977, the film was revised by director Chris Marker in 1993. Among other things, Marker added a coda addressing the end of the Cold War. This later version was given English subtitles and released in the United States in 2002 as "A Grin without a Cat." See more »
Although made when the period it covered had barely ended, Marker's doc is a superb, incisive film history of the short but eventful period of Third World Revolution and the New Left. He doesn't attempt to explore all the ideological, sectarian byways of the time, but to make us understand what it felt like, and why people involved believed so fervently that they were making history. He also shows us how it all came unraveled, thanks to domestic repression and political fakery in the developed countries and brutal intervention in the developing.
One of the final clips (if memory serves) is most telling: Salvador Allende, months before his violent overthrow, delivering an electrifying speech to Chilean factory workers, urging them to ... accept layoffs and pay cuts. That's what it came down to, unfortunately: a boxed-in socialist president, doing his opponents' dirty work even as they prepared to murder him.
Why Soderbergh? I just saw his marvelous, two-part "Che," and couldn't help but wonder if Marker's film was on his mind when he made it. Although a fiction film with actors, it also puts you close to the action and makes you feel what it was like to be taking part in 1) the momentous Cuban revolution and 2) the bitter failure of the Bolivian insurgency. Rise and fall, very much like the elation and then the dead-end that Marker gives us. Along the way, Soderbergh provides snapshots of his main character (now in black and white) giving speeches, interviews, explaining himself and his cause to American and UN audiences who couldn't be farther from the events Che was caught up in. The revolution is televised. Marker does the same thing with some of the footage he found, and interestingly, another Cuban revolutionary--Castro--was his charismatic star.
One fine filmmaker paying tribute to one of the medium's greatest, perhaps? But see "Grin Without a Cat," and ask yourself why so few directors have any notion of the medium's potential.
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