Sans Soleil (Chris Marker, 1983)

Join us for our series of free screenings to accompany the exhibition Things Fall Apart.

This experimental essay film combines thoughts, images and documented actions mainly from Japan and Guinea-Bissau, “two extreme poles of survival”. Other scenes were filmed in Cape Verde, Iceland, Paris, and San Francisco, recreating what a female narrator reads from letters supposedly sent to her by the (fictitious) cameraman Sandor Krasna.

The film conducts a series of philosophical inquiries into contemporary culture, technology, consciousness, Japanese television and even the act of filming itself. A meditation on human memory, Marker’s “travelling cinema” explores how the perception of personal and global histories is affected by the difficulties of recalling the context and nuances of memories. The film takes inspiration from the 11th century Japanese writer Sei Shōnagon, whose Pillow Bookincluded lists of “things that quicken the heart”. Marker’s film is a search for such images in contemporary cultures.

In a 2014 Sight and Sound poll, film critics voted Sans Soleil the third best documentary film of all time.

The film will be introduced by Christine van Assche, curator at large at Centre Pompidou and co-curator of the Chris Marker show for the Cinémathèque Française.

**Marker’s Sans Soleil is part of a series of curated film screenings that accompany Things Fall Apart, expanding on some of the themes explored in the exhibition.