|7:00 p.m.||A Grin Without a Cat|
Chris Marker (France, 1977/2001)
(Le fond de l'air est rouge. Part One: Fragile Hands; Part Two: Severed Hands). In 1968, revolution was in the air in Paris, Peking, Prague, and Peoria. But was it on the ground? That is the fundamental question energizing this remarkable essay by the inimitable, satiric, and fully fomented Chris Marker. Agitprop of an idiosyncratic nature, it begins with Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, specifically the Odessa Steps, an image of the masses being routed. Over the next three hours, Marker synthesizes what is ultimately a postcolonial struggle, or “third world war,” igniting throughout the globe. The Vietnam War is central to this struggle, its injurious excess mobilizing the New Left. But through outtakes, newsreels, interviews, amateur footage, and wire photos, Marker makes wicked connections to the death of Che Guevara, the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the souring of the Olympics, Allende’s U.S.-backed assassination, and, of course, the grand barricades of Paris. With barbs that sting both left and right and a penchant for the poetic, Marker’s sweeping ciné-tract is about not the proper path but the transformation achieved along the way.
• Written by Marker. (180 mins plus intermission, In French, Spanish, and other languages with English voice-over and subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Icarus Films)