Catherine Lupton says the film “examines the identity of the state of Israel by reading it as an accumulation of signs, marks of the multiple conflicts that have carved out its twelve years of existence as a nation.”
Movie is a “Letter From Tel-Aviv” then, exploring Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem, Haifa, with the humorous and intelligent commentary as in Marker’s other early docs. Of course I’ll need to see it again sometime whenever possible, since my copy has nearly unreadable white subtitles and tiny, crappy picture quality. I’m not even sure what language is being spoken by the narrator.
Marker’s owls are present:
And cats as well… a man who feeds them calls in hungarian “to all hungarian-speaking cats”
Electronic sound effects and filming an oscilloscope predate the technological curiosity in Sans Soleil by more than 20 years.
Cinematography by Ghislain Cloquet, who later shot Mouchette, Balthazar and Jacques Demy films, won an Oscar for a Roman Polanski film, then died during the production of Sans Soleil.
“born in camps, crushed by camps… us, germany, with our crimes,” fragments of a whole unexpected section of accusatory comments against Europe. This could be a more-hopeful sequel to “Night and Fog.”
Store signs at the beginning read: samson, delilah, varda and ali baba
Definitely some plays on words like in Letter From Siberia but harder to tell what’s being said… some play with editing and sound effects (announcer and crowd cheering while camera follows a kid skating downhill through the streets, as if he is inaugurating a new Olympic sport).
A scene of quiet study brings to mind the library short Toute la mémoire du monde.
I miss every third or fourth line so not always sure what points he’s trying to make, especially during a section composed of stills and zooms in the orthodox quarter.
We get a favorite theme from Sans Soleil discussing pictures/images vs. reality in the photographs taken home by tourists and in the ancient biblical paintings of this land.
The Jewish Saturday has a “mood of general strike”… he calls the kibbutz meeting an “absolute democracy” then describes a communist “Utopia”. His purposely combining terminology of communism and democracy during the kibbutz meeting scene must’ve incensed some people when this came out.
The young artist who Marker chooses to represent the Israeli state in the final scene: