Sans Soleil by Chris Marker

I was advised to watch Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil by Judy, my tutor for the Reconfigured Documentary film project I’m undertaking. What struck me the most was the use of a synthesiser to create new images from old film; where the film used to be full colour there were now a couple of colours or just shades of one colour and the images themselves were no longer recognisable, despite the moving outlines of the people in them. The film uses voice over in the form of a made up female character who leads the way through sometimes contrasting and sometimes correlating images. This use of contrast and correlation was pleasing because it created questions about what was being narrated. A general sense of place was generated through the use of diegetic and non-diegetic sound, whilst some images had no accompanying sound (I like this idea). Comments on the distribution of wealth within Japan was particularly highlighted by comparing uses of alcohol by mourners in private graveyards and by homeless people. The overall feel of the film was mournful. Marker’s use of black leader in his film was particularly interesting to me as I noticed, when I showed an edit to Judy, how powerful it is to have a voice over a black screen; I hadn’t yet chosen any images to go with a voice over part and decided to leave it with a black screen.

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