If I Had Four Dromedaries (1966, Chris Marker)

Part 1: The Castle

“The photo is the hunt. It’s the instinct of hunting without the desire to kill. It’s the hunt of angels… you track, you aim, you fire and–clic! Instead of a dead man, you make him eternal.”

A slideshow of photographs with a voiceover discussion about the nature of photographs, flipping rapidly all over the globe. Familiar sights: streets of Cuba, “commuter trains full of sleeping Japanese,” an owl in a flight museum, that shot I love of the Russian woman holding a turtle. Many references to things I don’t follow, but because of the great photos and the 50-minute length, this would make a great Intro to Marker – especially if there was better-quality video available.

They fawn over Russia for a while, moving to to lonely monasteries in Greece, then the first day of Algerian independence (below).

“One instant of happiness paid for with seven years of war and one million deaths. And the following day, the Castle was still there. And the poor are still there, day after day. And day after day, we continue to betray them.”

Part 2: The Garden

A montage of animal shots, then a tour of a Korea, and on to Scandinavia.

Different kinds of music, including bits of the electronic effects and percussion that would become more prominent in his later films.

“One needs to look closely at this Scandinavian man. He has everything, truly everything that nine tenths of humanity doesn’t dare to imagine in their wildest dreams. It’s for his standard of living that the Black, the Arab, the Greek, the Siberian and even the Cuban militiamen are striving. He has everything the revolutions promised. And when one shows him some Brecht – free moreover – in the Stockholm gardens, he doesn’t really get the message.”

How do you say elephant in Russian? Slon.

Then a tour of tombs and discussion of death. “I met a man who lived his own death” sounds like an alternate intro to La Jetee.

A yugoslavian hog considers the day to come:

After a wordless musical section, all fades out, but returns for a strange coda, a montage of torn posters with the sound of a screaming monkey, then final voiceover, which seems lovely when it accompanies the images, but didn’t make sense when I tried to transcribe here.

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