Resnais was making art shorts a decade before the official birth of the French New Wave, building up to his mindblowing first three features by practicing his filmmaking, not just by writing and dreaming. Le Chant du styrene and Toute la memoire du monde are both wonderful, and the latter looks forward to the themes and camera work of Last Year at Marienbad. Finally got my hands on some earlier shorts with subtitles, very exciting.

Van Gogh (1948)

This and Paul Gaugin tell abridged life stories of the artists with imaginative narration, the visuals composed solely of the artists’ works, using camera movement, zooms, fades and a musical cutting rhythm. Both artists lived in Paris but moved away, and worked over the same period of time (in fact, they knew each other).

On Van Gogh: “He was a preacher, but he preached badly. The violence of his faith frightened even the faithful. It was in the process of trying to find a way to express his love for mankind that he discovered himself to be a painter.” The film gets great mileage out of the artist’s descent into madness. Katy points out that the sunflowers lose some of their power captured in a black-and-white film.

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Little about this online, besides that it won an Oscar. Auteurs: “The 1948 piece Van Gogh proved so successful in its original 16 mm form that it was subsequently remade in 35 mm, winning a prize at the Venice Film Festival as well as an Academy Award.” It’s also the earliest listed Resnais film that I’ve ever seen anyone mention, although an article by Rhys Hughes confirms the earlier shorts exist.

E. Wilson in her Resnais book:
“Resnais’s aim is not merely to use Van Gogh’s art as material evidence, substituting paintings for snapshots of the artist’s life; more subtly he uses the paintings to show us the world apparently as Van Gogh saw it, to show us not merely the object world of nineteenth-century Holland and France, but to conjure the subjective images of that world perceived by the artist and captured by him on canvas. Resnais’s investigation in the film is not merely art historical therefore: he seeks already, as he will in his later films, to reveal the work and process of the imagination, the shots of reality that we view, distorted, in our mind’s eye.”

Paul Gaugin (1950)

The opening narration summarizes: “A bank employee and head of family, well-to-do, middle-aged, comfortable, discovers that he has been lying to himself. He wants, indeed he must paint. From that point on, he devotes himself exclusively to painting, and after twenty years of poverty dies alone.”

Starts in 1883, just like the previous film. Instead of poor and insane, Gaugin ends up poor and sick in Tahiti, painting shirtless native women. The commentary on Van Gogh was written by co-producers Robert Hessens and Gaston Diehl, but this one is taken from Gaugin’s own writings. Produced by Pierre Braunberger, who assisted early works by Renoir (Charleston, La Chienne) and Truffaut/Godard, ending up with Terayama Shuji of all the weird people. I wish they’d done a Pierre-Auguste Renoir film in this series.

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Maybe I didn’t like this as much as Van Gogh because I don’t like the artwork as much, didn’t figure out the painter’s style, or maybe because it seems a rerun of the previous film (artist starts painting, gets obsessive, flees the city, goes poor/mad). E. Wilson, the biography author, agrees and spends more pages discussing Guernica (1950) instead. She calls this “a largely pictorial film by contrast,” points out that in Statues he would be “more self-conscious about self/other relations, colonial and post-colonial tensions.”

Statues Also Die (1952)

I’ve watched this before, but without subtitles. It is immensely improved when I understand the commentary – not that the shots and editing are anything short of excellent, but the movie is making all sorts of points about images, history, culture and colonialism which are sort of essential.

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Glorious (2008, Guy Maddin)
Far more guns, gangsters and cocksucking than has ever been in a Maddin film before. Features Louis Negin as a single-frame apparition turned fellatio-ghost. Must pay more attention to the music next time. In other news, when I looked up Louis Negin on IMDB, it says he played a zombie in Pontypool.
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Yay, got me a 2007 disc of cartoons based on the work of Jim Woodring. Jim himself kicks off the collection with the one-minute Whim Grinder: A Frank Adventure, in which Frank and his pet… box? intercept a transmogrifying eggbeater from a mischievous devil.
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Frank (Pushpow) (Taruto Fuyama)
I dig the use of the “meet george jetson” music cue. Watched twice because there’s a second audio track with elektronischy music by James McNew. Black and white and very stripey. Done in Flash, maybe? then transferred off a videotape from the looks of the credits. One of the greatest things ever.
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Frank (Eri Yoshimura)
Next one, done in a puppet cutout style, is very different. Frank seems to be having a picnic with his buds until a rampaging pig beast tears them all apart. Seems about two minutes of animation edited into four. The closing credits are pretty nice – not so much the rest.
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I’ve Been Twelve Forever (Michel Gondry)
Gondry talks with his mom, storyboards his dreams, builds a spinning camera-spirograph triggered by strings tied to Bjork’s fingers, makes cartoon farts with cotton balls, invents new animation methods, films himself in stop-motion, and discusses his best music videos. This turned out not to be a short at all, though I thought it would be when I started watching it, and much more elaborate and creative than its status as a DVD-extra on a music videos disc would suggest. I’m pretty sure I like this better than Be Kind Rewind. Co-directed with four people including Lance Bangs.

Wet Chicken (2003, Myznikova & Provorov)
A woman’s hair blows in the breeze, then she shakes her head, then she’s shot with a stream of water. Seems like the kind of rough materials that Shinya Tsukamoto would make something interesting from, but these guys forgot to make something interesting and accidentally released it like this. Too late to re-edit now that it’s on the internet.
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The Marker Variations (2007, Isaki Lacuesta)
One ruler of Dijon uses photographs to rule, and the next uses them as execution aids. 12th century monks composed Bach concertos 900 years before Bach did, inscribing the notes into their stone architecture. Buenos Aires is “the divided city” so a story of two mirroring authors is told using split-screen images.

Opening with these unbelievable stories reminded me more of Magnolia than Chris Marker, but an exploration of the images and possible existence of Marker is what follows. He goes over Marker’s references, he asks his own Japanese friend the questions asked of Koumiko, and eventually he gets caught up in his own essay, his own connections, but accompanied by so many images from Marker’s films (not to mention the music) that none of it escapes, sticks in my mind. To a Marker-phile such as myself it’s just too much.
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A chronological romp through Varda’s life and work. Exciting and wonderful and gorgeous and traumatic and mischievous. More inter-intra-self-referential than even 101 Nights of Simon Cinéma, which of course this references more than once. The perfect summary and closer to Agnes Varda Month, and possibly to the great woman’s filmmaking career (we’ll see).

EDIT Aug 2019: Nope, she had at least three more features in her. Watched this with Katy, and it turns out it’s great no matter how many/few Varda movies you’ve seen previously.

Static (mostly) shots of outdoor junk sculptures near San Francisco, 5 minutes long. Shot with a guy who IMDB knows nothing about, and a guy who worked on Wenders’ Hammett as well as Ice Cube actioner xXx 2.

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This was titled “Shorts watched September 2009 (on land),” as opposed to “on the plane“, but I only ended up watching the one.

Dude who named his domain after the film says: “The film was shot in Emeryville, near the east section of the Bay Bridge, but unless I’m mistaken the co-ordinates in Marker’s intertitles appear to be for somewhere in Redwood City.”

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Behind the scenes on Akira Kurosawa’s Ran. I didn’t believe the hype that this would be one of Marker’s best films, but the hype was right! Gorgeous movie, more following general daily activity on-set than Kurosawa himself, to the great annoyance of the IMDB reviewers. Besides CM, praise to cameraman Frans-Yves Marescot (no other credits) and the great Tôru Takemitsu whose music is used extensively.

Tôru Takemitsu visits the set looking for musical inspiration:
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“In this kind of shooting the first pitfall to avoid is appropriating a beauty that does not belong to us, to play up the lovely backlit shot. Of course some of that borrowed beauty will come through anyway. But we shall try to show what we see the way we see it, from our eye-level.”
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On the TV is The Horse, the last movie Kurosawa assistant-directed before beginning to make his own films
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Movie was shot around Mt. Fuji, but apparently the mountain isn’t seen in Ran.
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“When cement has been added to the black earth of Mt. Fuji so that the horses’ hooves can kick up clouds of dust, the assistant director and the script girl pitch in as enthusiastically as the grips. It’s as though each person, however great his or her professional qualifications regarded the film as a whole, as a collective endeavor in which there is no such thing as a noble or a menial task. We saw, for example, Kurosawa’s closest aide helping with makeup, the head electrician cutting the grass side by side with the art director, the clapman rehearsing stunts. Most unusual.”

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Sound recordist Fumio Yanoguchi, who died during the editing of A.K., had worked with Kurosawa since the late 40’s:
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Ishiro Honda himself – director of Mothra, Rodan and the original Godzilla:
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Fallen warrior, or an extra taking a nap?
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“The sensei is he who, by achieving technical perfection, has got a sort of spiritual bonus out of it. The aura of respect that surrounds and protects Kurosawa is nothing like the reign of terror that some lesser directors impose on the set. And just like the great sword masters of the past, sensei has no time for abstraction. When he speaks of his work he reflects on factual experiences. When asked why he did this or that he says “I simply make a film as I want it to be”.

Sensei:
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It’s my first-ever post on movies I haven’t seen!

Here are some movies I have not watched because I can not understand them.
More reasons to learn French.

If I Had Four Dromedaries, 1966

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Far From Vietnam, 1967

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Maspero, les mots ont un sens, 1970
(also mentioned in one of my previous Marker round-ups)

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Blue Helmet, 1995

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Silent Movie, 1995 (and/or Owl Gets In Your Eyes)
(The girl is Catherine Belkhodja, star of Level Five – note the cartoon owls reflected in her sunglasses)

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A Mayor in Kosovo, 2000

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Commentaires

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This page from the Catherine Lupton book gives a good intro to this post on three Chris Marker movies I just watched, and this other post on some Chris Marker movies I did not watch.

Marker has also continued to engage directly with contemporary political events and debates. In The Last Bolshevik and in Berliner Ballade (1990), a report produced for a French television current affairs strand, Marker reflects on the political ideals that collapsed at a stroke with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Communist rule over the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and attempts to hold open a space for those who still believe in the founding principles of Socialism. Coinciding with this abrupt shift in the political landscape of Europe, the welter of savage inter-ethnic conflicts triggered by ultra-nationalist movements in the former Yugoslavia during the early 1990s (and again more recently in Kosovo) has focused Marker’s attention through a series of candid engagements with people caught up in the long drawn-out war. Les 20 heures dans les camps (1993, Prime Time in the Camps) focuses on a group of Bosnian refugees who are producing their own television broadcasts. Casque bleu (1996, Blue Helmet) is an extended interview with a French soldier who served with the UN peacekeeping force in the former Yugoslavia, and now voices his disillusion with UN policy towards the region. Two as yet unreleased works, Un Maire au Kosovo (2000, A Mayor in Kosovo) and Avril inquiet (2001, currently unfinished, Worried April), are built around interviews with Kosovans involved in the most recent stage of the conflict. This cluster of short, pointed, interview-driven videos is the direct descendant of Marker’s unsigned political films of the 1960s and ’70s, and retains the same ambition: to give a voice to people who are spoken about, but never heard, in mainstream news reporting.

Tokyo Days, 1986

Twenty minutes long, seems very much like outtakes from Sans Soleil. We watch people dreaming on the subway, check out Japanese television… all very familiar. Of course I’m not complaining. There’s always room for more Sans Soleil. Wish this had been an extra on its DVD, instead of a hyper-obscure oddity on a bittorrent site.

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No dialogue except in this part – French, of course, so I’m not sure what she said. This girl is Arielle Dombasle – an actress in the films of Raoul Ruiz, Eric Rohmer and Alain Robbe-Grillet (she’s the one labeled “one goofy actress” in my La Belle Captive entry), who also appeared in Sans Soleil and The Owl’s Legacy. I think we hear Marker himself talking to her in this segment.

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Berlin ’90
I thought this was the same film as Berliner Ballade but apparently this is its sequel which accompanied Tokyo Days in the installation project Zapping Zone. I wasn’t always sure what was going on… yeah, the Berlin Wall and elections, but I didn’t get as much out of it as other viewers have. Nothing wrong with it, just some news/reportage footage.

EAI:
Berlin 1990 travels the streets and the political landscape of the recently re-unified Berlin. In the tumultuous atmosphere of 1990, we watch Berliners walk through check points manned by soldiers, past street vendors selling sausages and “actual” pieces of the Berlin Wall, and watch as they watch the election results come in for another “new” Germany.”

Frieze:
Berlin (1990) records daily life by the Berlin wall during its dismantling. Formerly capitalism’s outer limit and the most striking emblem of world economic division, the wall itself became just another commodity, as pieces of it sprayed with fake graffiti were sold next to East German police uniforms and frankfurters. Though Marker documents the optimism of the first East German elections, a stunning montage to the lilting melody I Can Hardly Wait for Spring suddenly evokes the darker memories hiding behind German reunification: flowers strewn along the streets for Hitler, and the burning of Berlin.”

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Prime Time in the Camps, 1993

In the Bosnian refugee camps during the war in Sarajevo, some amateurs take over a TV station, dedicated to collecting the news, sorting out the truth and re-broadcasting along with their own reportage to fellow refugees. “They are young people who never imagined that one day they’d be behind a television camera or holding a microphone.” One of the reporters: “People had a particular model in their heads of what television was. So we had to make the news look like the news, which meant making it look like what people are used to seeing. It was then that it became credible.”

At the end we see people watching the show that their neighbors had just finished assembling, a la Medvedkin on his train. If there was a topic in ’93 more custom-made for the interests of Chris Marker, I can’t think of it. Peter Watkins should have been there too (see Frieze quote below).

Wikipedia: “The Siege of Sarajevo was the longest siege in the history of modern warfare, conducted by the Serb forces of self-proclaimed Republika Srpska and Yugoslav People’s Army (later transformed to the Army of Serbia and Montenegro), lasting from 5 April 1992 to 29 February 1996.”

BFI: “Documentary on the Ruska refugee camp in Ljubliana (Slovenia), where a group of Bosnian refugees present news every night on VHS video. Documentary on the making of the news.”

Frieze Magazine: “The amateur journalists sift information from three or four news sources: ‘I ask myself who might want to lie, and who might have the ability.’ Ordinary people, they have slowly come to realise that television news is a vast form of manipulation.”

Frieze 2: “Marker was Resnais’ assistant on Night and Fog (1955), one of the first films to document the Nazi death camps. This early moral imperative to remember is echoed in the Bosnian conflict. News, for those who live within violent struggle, is part of the work of mourning.”

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Katy asked why I like Chris Marker movies so much. I told her that Sans Soleil is one of my very favorite movies, and that everything else he has made connects with it in some way, that more than most other filmmakers he seems to be making one long work, rather than a bunch of disconnected movies, and I hope to see as much of that work as possible.

Songs heard:
Tokyo Days: Good Morning from Singin’ in the Rain
Prime Time in the Camps: Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows
Berlin ’90: The Air That I Breathe

À bientôt, j’espère [Be Seeing You] (1968, with Mario Marret)

“Almost 10,000 workers have lost a day’s pay, just like that. It is not a prowess, it’s solidarity and it is something formidable compared to TV games or trash papers. It’s far better, it’s wonderful. It’s normal, it’s the working class… that’s what we must be aware of. What is beautiful is not what is written in the tabloids. It’s what the working class does. It’s to lose 5000 francs to support our sacked mates, and to contribute today again to make up for their lost pay. If only this was advertised and spread. Isn’t that culture? I want to tell management we’ll win thanks to the solidarity they know nothing about. We’ll get you. We’re not mad at those who think wrongly they are the boss, but we’ll get those who own capital. It has to be, it’s natural, and we’ll be seeing you.”

Unfortunately this does not seem like an intricate film which will grow deeper in meaning with repeat viewings – just on-the-spot reporting, interviews with striking factory workers who calmly explain what’s wrong with factory conditions and the effects (both actual and hopeful) of their strike. The only good speech is the one quoted above, at the very end. Movie was a letdown considering the great strike movies I’ve seen lately, including Harlan County USA just last week… but this wasn’t aiming to be similar to that film, or to The Battle of Chile, just small-scale reporting of a single event, leading (hopefully, but not actually) to a revolution of working-class-created films.

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2084 (1984)

Filmmakers are asked to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the 1884 start of trade unionism in France. “They were rather at a loss, so they had this idea of simply jumping ahead a century… afraid of defining the state of the movement today.” Their software and studies predict three possible futures, color-coded.

The Grey Alternative: a never-ending crisis. “When it takes all your energy just to stay afloat, there’s not much imagination left for creating a future.” An alternative with the possibility of “a social or nuclear explosion”, “a fearful society huddled in its blankets of false security, staking its hopes on a precarious balance that is forever in jeopardy. Here the union is at best a powerful protective organization” to “safeguard your job, keep you as comfortable as possible… A union like that doesn’t bother with changing the world.” “Union ritual becomes… nothing but congresses, meetings, demos, slogans. What a drag.”

The Black Alternative: “it could be fascism, it could be stalinism… it’s not easy to forsee a world where the technical developments replace ideology… The appropriation of this technology: who is to benefit from it, who should control its development, was the overriding question of the late 20th century, its real challenge. Because we didn’t understand in time what was really at stake, it was left to a new type of leader to govern the future: the techno-totalitarians.” It forsees “violent workers revolts [in] the 80’s and 90’s and their repression.” This leads to a Wall-E utopia. “At home you get more images than your eyes can absorb and more information than your memory can stock… Anger too belongs to a bygone age. The state is a well-oiled feeding machine and the union nothing more than the engineer who keeps it working, the one who detects the little glitches, little breakdowns, and who can’t even imagine that the machine can serve some other purpose. In fact, of ‘union’, only the name remains. Trade unionism passed away with the dawn of the year 2000” because of infighting.

The Blue Alternative: a tentative hope. “before our eyes, technology is beginning to prove itself a fantastic tool for changing the world, and this transformation includes the struggle against hunger, against suffering, the struggle against ignorance and against prejudice. It is still a struggle, but in the context of the 21st century, not the 19th.”

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“The 20th century hasn’t even existed. It was nothing but a long, painful transition from barbarism to civilization. In the 1980’s those who still felt angry about poverty, about the injustice of industrial societies were right. Those who felt there was hope for change were right too. The part unions played was to bridge the gap between this anger and this hope. They were the instrument of a new struggle, a place where imaginations could meet and create new solidarities, where people could… learn how to make good use of their differences, and how to win control of their days.”

The film proclaims that it has been “talking less about what has been done already than about what remains to be done. Nothing is programmed yet. The three alternatives are open to us.” “We’ve just got one century left.”

Definitely had to watch this a second time to make sense of it because of the rapid-fire low-key narration and the bizarre images (mostly of film students in a lab combing through 20th century film images), which I would focus on and lose the train of thought of the narration. They don’t exactly work together most of the time. It’s a great commentary though, and a strong little film.

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Remembrance of Things to Come (2001, with Yannick Bellon)

Excellent movie by two 80-year-old artists celebrating the photography of Yannick’s mother Denise Bellon. Tells stories through Denise’s photographs of France and surrounding countries (including colonized north Africa) and of her friends the Surrealists, first in the pre-war 30’s, then the lead-up to WWII, and briefly post-war (incl. a surrealist reunion photo). Nothing afterwards, though Denise lived until 1999 – makes for a short, focused movie. Electro-sounds and female narration by the Sans Soleil crew of Michel Krasna and Alexandra Stewart.

“Each of her photographs shows a past yet deciphers a future.” This is the kind of movie I’d been waiting for while sorting through Marker’s lesser-known 70’s stuff – poetic commentary weaving history and art around the images. Don’t know how the collaboration with Yannick Bellon worked, but this feels very much like a Marker movie, and a great one at that. There are cats, of course (see below), and the second mention I’ve seen him make of the 1952 Olympics.

From what Acquarello writes about this, you’d think he was talking about Sans Soleil: “It is in this analytical deconstruction between the integral art of composing an image and the cognitive assignment of significance behind the captured image that filmmakers Chris Marker and Yannick Bellon create a compelling exposition on the processing and (subconscious) self-actualization of human memory.”

Movie opens on Dali’s Rainy Taxi, which I saw in Spain.

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The Bellon sisters:
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Auguste Lumiere:
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The Pont-Neuf, which I recognized from Lovers on the Bridge:
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The commentary on this part, about scrap metal used to fuel the war effort, is one of Marker’s finest:
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Puisqu’on vous dit que c’est possible [We Maintain It Is Possible] (1973)

“We can now point out that the government preferred to surrender to multinationals rather than grant anything to the workers. That’s what we can say for now.” [via megaphone]

Movie about worker occupation of a factory in 1973, with an intro saying the movie was shot by “Scopecolor”, edited by Marker, and is the sole responsibility of those involved – the strike participants’ way of distancing themselves from the film, perhaps. A watch factory called Lip is to be shut down, then bought out, then restructured with massive layoffs, and the workers decide not to accept this, to take the factory and sell the watches themselves. Negotiations don’t go well (the workers have all sorts of demands, the owner simply says it’s not profitable so he’s shutting it down) then the police evacuate the building and demonstrations hit the streets.

Has much more interesting editing than À bientôt, j’espère but that’s not saying much. Still, for the most part, video interviews and a few photographs for a while, then footage from inside the factory, nothing exciting to watch. I mean, all praise to Mr. Medvedkin, and I agree that cinema can have many useful purposes, but personally I’ve seen an unusually high number of movies about worker strikes, so forgive me if I yawn when this one’s narrator goes on about how exciting are union meetings.

“The outrage lies in labor exploitation and the alienation that capitalism inflicts on workers.” says a speaker during a convincing speech – which is exactly the point here. Rich factory-owners aren’t going to freely hand their factories over to the workers, and the government isn’t going to allow one group to occupy another group’s buildings against the owner’s will, so the only way to win is the change the system, to reform capitalism. It happened, however briefly, in Chile, but the watchmakers at Lip failed to overthrow the French capitalist system.

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Set Theory (1985)

An ugly slideshow done entirely in HyperStudio, accompanied strangely enough by string music by Russian composer Alfred Schnittke instead of the electronic sounds Marker is fond of using. The story goes: Noah is on his ark wondering how to sort out all these animals, when two wise owls come by and teach him set theory. “Eureka,” cries Noah, who now understands all manners of mathematics through understanding set theory. Since it uses French intertitles instead of spoken narration, I transcribed the titles and ran ’em through google translator to make a subtitle track with helpful program Media Subtitler. The movie itself was only halfway worth the effort – it seems a very minor work (though more amusing than À bientôt, j’espère) – but it was fun to play around with. Some of the clip-art and dialogue is actually pretty cute – a tiger being confused with a house cat due to faulty classification and taken home is portrayed using an oversized tiger in a bathtub, with E. Munch’s “The Scream” in the foreground.

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Gymnopedies (1965, Larry Jordan)
An egg floats around on different backdrops interacting with various objects, all cut-out animation a la Gilliam or Borowczyk, set to calm piano music. Feels more like a proof of concept than anything else – if there was a narrative present, I didn’t catch it. Cute, though.
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Lipstick (1999, Pascal Aubier)
Single 6-minute shot beginning under a bed, unsubtitled. Family is getting ready to leave for a trip, the mother is briefly visited by her lover who comes in through the window. Aubier was assistant director on some French New Wave classics in the 60’s, now an actor and a director of (mostly) comic shorts. Liked this a lot (and not only because of the naked dancing), will have to check out more of his stuff.
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Ark (2007, Grzegorz Jonkajtys)
Iffy-looking 3D animation tells apocalyptic story with a twist ending. Our guy wasn’t really the lead scientist onboard an ark of the last surviving humans searching the oceans for new land, just a crazy old man in a convalescent home. Ha! Bah.
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Happy-End (1996, Peter Tscherkassky)
Found footage of a couple sitting down for dinner, toasting the camera, drinking… and drinking and drinking! Dancing, drinking, sitting, more drinking. Different days, different clothes, edited together, eventually with scenes superimposed atop each other, a haunted distortion of a French pop song as the soundtrack.
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Two Solutions To One Problem (1975, Abbas Kiarostami)
Very short with narrator, two kids get in a fight over a torn book. We tally the damages then rewind, and instead of starting a fight, they help repair the book and remain friends. Nice.
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Blah Blah Blah (2006, Dietmar Brehm)
Liquor bottles. Close-ups of objects with strong textures, overexposed porno, an action film in extreme-fast-forward, long pause on an ashtray, back to the liquor bottles, etc. Audio is a quietly rainy/windy day with a metronome hit every three seconds. Looks like old 8mm or 16mm color with some monochrome sections. Pretty alright, probably better in a theater surrounded by like-minded shorts instead of following up a cute Kiarostami piece.
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A Girl, She is 100% (1983, Naoto Yamakawa)
Wow, that wasn’t very good at all. They must’ve thought it’d be the simplest Haruki Murakami story to film. Straightforward, with some good still photography and some bad acting by our IMDB-unknown hero, closing with some rockin’ 80’s music.
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Foutaisies (1989, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
Young Dominique Pinon with 80’s hair tells us about the things he likes and does not like. Very Amelie-feeling, with Delicatessen opening titles (and Deli‘s lead actress).
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The Hitman (2001, Ruben Fleischer)
Mary Lynn Rajskub decides to be a hitman, but her first mark (Paul F. Tompkins) decides not to go through with it and asks her out instead. Just your typical indie comedy short. From the director of Girls Guitar Club, whose film career didn’t take off, I guess.

What Is That (2001, Run Wrake)
Buncha funny animated business involving insects and meat and ringing sounds. Cute, but only three minutes long and pretty inconsequential… not up to Rabbit level. Guess it’s an early work.
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Film Noir (2005, Osbert Parker)
Awesome, very short. Like Fast Film but slower. Some After-Effects-lookin’ animation combined with models and lots of cutouts – not trying to tell a story, just cool visuals/mood. Ahhh, the internet reveals that it was all created in-camera – impressive!
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Banquize (2005, Claude Barras)
Boyer’s French Dictionary: “banquize – heap of floating ice frozen together in close masses.” Might be called Banquise, actually. Simple animation, fat kid wears his snow clothes in summer, dreams of living on banquize and playing with penguins. One day trying to hitchhike there he drops dead from heat/dehydration. Hmm.
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Herakles (1962, Werner Herzog)
Herzog’s very first film, six years before his first feature. This was really good, and not like anything else I’ve seen by WH. Pretty simple structure so I’ll let wikipedia take it below.
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The film relates to six of the twelve labours of Heracles. The film starts with shots of young male bodybuilders working out in a gym, posing on a stage and flexing their muscles. Each of the labours are then announced by on-screen text in the form of a question, followed by related scenes of modern challenges intercut with the bodybuilders. The audio track of the film is saxophone jazz and sounds from a gym.

The question “Will he clean the Augean stables?” is followed by scenes of a garbage dump, “Will he kill the Lernaean Hydra?” is followed by a huge line of stopped traffic on a motorway and people walking around outside their cars, “Will he tame the Mares of Diomedes?” is followed by scenes of car racing and several race crashes including a crash into the spectators and shots of the subsequent disaster and piles of bodies, “Will he defeat the Amazonians?” is followed by scores of young women marching in uniform, “Will he conquer the giants?” is followed by shots of rubble of a destroyed apartment building and men in uniform searching the wreckage, “Will he resist the Stymphalian birds?” is followed by jets flying in formation, shooting missiles and dropping bombs on training targets. The last shot of the film is of a bodybuilder’s buttocks as he goes off the stage through the stage curtains.

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Matta (1985, Chris Marker)
“What I am showing here is no exhibition. It is an appeal: Come and play with me! It’s a very lively game, but nothing happens.” Simple interview with Chilean artist Matta (not surprisingly an Allende supporter), an original member of the surrealist group, talking coherently about his art and all art, human beings, dimension and meaning. Would be nice to get/make a transcript. Would be even nicer to have been able to see the Matta paintings that Marker frames him against, but my video was too low-quality to make out much visual detail.
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