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Unseen in Toronto for a decade, Chris Marker's sublime, time-tripping homage to photographer Denise Bellon is a small masterpiece of montage.
"A marvel! The most unforgettable film of any length you will see this year!" (The New York Times). Unseen in Toronto since TIFF Cinematheque gave it a premiere a decade ago, Remembrance of Things to Come is a must for all Markerians. Ostensibly a chronicle of photographer Denise Bellon in the two decades between 1935 and 1955, Remembrance leaps and backtracks, in distinctive Marker style, from subject to subject: from a family portrait of Bellon and her daughters Loleh and Yannick (the latter co-authored the film), to a wide-ranging history of Surrealism, of the city of Paris, of French cinema and the birth of the cinémathèque, of Europe, Le Pen's National Front, World War II and the Spanish Civil War, the 1952 Olympics and postwar politics and culture. Opening with Dalí and ending with Mompou, full of Marker jokes (a great one about artists and cats), wordplay (Citroën/citron), filmic homages (a memorable appearance by Musidora), peculiar art history and astounding segues (from French colonialism in Africa to women in the Maghreb, to a Jewish wedding and gypsy culture in Europe, to Mein Kampf and the Nazi death camps), Remembrance is a small masterpiece of montage, traversing in its brief running time a world of thought, feeling, and history. Though from moment to moment reminiscent of Resnais, Ivens and even Kubrick, in its deployment of still photographs (as in La Jetée), its theme of history and memory, its subject-skipping montage and its rapid shuttle of wit and philosophy, the film is pure, marvellous Marker.