Remembered History – choose one

1. I first saw Chris Marker’s Sunless at the Melbourne Film Festival, probably when it was fresh released. It was hypnotic, crushing (I remember it feeling heavy) and uplifting. Shown at a session with barely a dozen other film goers who all looked at each other differently when we walked out. I loved it and it influenced me greatly, I’d watched Marker’s black and white La Jetée with the reverence I was told it deserved a few times, but this film was my Super 8 home movies writ large.

2. I watched Chris Marker’s Sunless years after it was released on a recording I’d made off-air  TV (SBS? Late night ABC?). I watched it a few times, once on a grey afternoon sitting in the dimly lit ‘lounge room’ at Bungendore. I loved it, smiled at the clunky video graphic images, those heartbreaking ethereal blond Icelandic? children (in the still above) and it influenced me greatly, giving me encouragement to keep capturing the atmosphere around things as well as the action of an event. God knows (sorry, god knows) what I’ll do with them.

3. Probably both.

This is the official Sunless Trailer, and here is a segment from the film “Poetry will be made by everyone”

In that moment Poetry will be made by everyone and there will be emus in the ‘zone’.

Chris Marker website – Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory lovingly continued after Chris died by Daniel L Potter.

“I hate seeing one name more than once on the credits (you know “a picture by Jonathan Rumblefish, after an idea by Jonathan Rumblefish, scenario and dialog by Jonathan Rumblefish, edited by Jonathan Rumblefish, etc”, I see it as extremely pedestrian. So even if I frequently do my own music, I would have felt preposterous to sign it along my director’s credits.”     Chris Marker

Chris has relented from being obscure and vague about the movie and has written about Sans Soleil here.

“On a more matter-of-fact level, I could tell you that the film intended to be, and is nothing more than a home movie. I really think that my main talent has been to find people to pay for my home movies. Were I born rich, I guess I would have made more or less the same films, at least the traveling kind, but nobody would have heard of them except my friends and visitors. Camera was a little 16mm Beaulieu with 100 feet reels, silent (which means noisy) – the sound was made separately on one of the first small cassette recorders (not yet the Walkman), there isn’t one synch take in Sans Soleil. I was naturally alone from beginning to end, but with some exceptions that’s my usual way to work. I couldn’t find the words to “explain” to an editor, for instance, operations that come instinctively to my mind when I’m at the editing table. The 16mm editing was transferred on 35mm for theatre release. ”

And some years later, this appears on Youtube. Godard’s collaborator Jean-Pierre Gorin discusses Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil (Sunless). It shows more of the film and Gorin’s comments work for me.