A Grin Without a Cat

Le Fond de l'air est rouge

dir. Chris Marker

A Grin Without a Cat

Le Fond de l'air est rouge

dir. Chris Marker

A Grin Without a Cat

Le Fond de l'air est rouge

dir. Chris Marker

A Grin Without a Cat

Le Fond de l'air est rouge

dir. Chris Marker

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Chris Marker's magisterial epic touches down in Paris, Prague, Peking and points between as it meditates on the fate of the world in the decade following May 1968.
"The ultimate achievement of an utterly unique cinematic figure. . . . One of the releases of the year, if not the decade" (Andrew O'Hehir, Salon). A Grin Without a Cat is essential Marker: a beautiful, idiosyncratic meditation on the fate of the world in the decade following May 1968 that also seems to predict much of what has subsequently happened in European politics. Epic and globe-hopping, touching down in Paris, Prague, Peking and points between, the film opens with a brilliant Marker manipulation of the Odessa Steps sequence from Battleship Potemkin and proceeds to explore the collapse of "the universal standard of civilization" in the years of the Vietnam War, the student revolts in Europe, and the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia (a period that Marker calls "the Third World War"). Marker compiles rare and unseen footage with his usual rueful wit; general air of gravity aside, he can't resist including a Belgian cat festival, and lampoons Fidel Castro's mania for moving microphones during speeches (he's finally stymied by one in the Soviet Union). "A grand immersion. . . . Marker has a genius for poetic aphorism and the documentary equivalent of the bon mot" (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice).