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Feature Friday: “Sans soleil” (1983)

[Note: Some number of previous Feature Friday films—7/20, I think—have since disappeared from YouTube. Such is the nature of gray market broadband video. So if you want to watch the films I link to, you’d better act fast, because better than 1/3 of them probably won’t stick around. It’s like Netflix Streaming! Meanwhile, I’ll look around for replacement videos…]

If nothing else, watch the first minute of this one, one of the most beautiful opening minutes in all of cinema.

I came across Sans soleil after a college professor showed me La Jetée (1962). This was not long after Twelve Monkeys (1995) came out. Terry Gilliam was then my favorite director, and my very first piece of film criticism was a problematic materialist reading of La Jetée and Twelve Monkeys. I like to think today that Marker would smile and forgive me.

In 2007, Criterion Collection released La Jetée and Sans soleil together. Like with Stop Making Sense, I sometimes play them in the background while I work. I never get tired of watching or listening to either, especially Sans soleil. Alexandra Stewart‘s voice is Melancholy Incarnate.

Sans soleil (1983)

Written and directed by Chris Marker

Enjoy!

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About A. D. Jameson

A. D. Jameson is the author of five books, most recently I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH DISTURBING: STAR WARS AND THE TRIUMPH OF GEEK CULTURE and CINEMAPS: AN ATLAS OF 35 GREAT MOVIES (with artist Andrew DeGraff). Last May, he received his Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the Program for Writers at UIC.
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