Chris Marker film screenings and talk
Wednesday 29 June 2005, Cine-Lumiere, London
6.30-7.00pm: Film -- "Les Statues Meurent Aussi" ("Even Statues Die"), by Chris Marker and Alain Resnais (1950-1953)
Created in 1953, this 22-minute audio-visual essay which deconstructs the effect of colonisation on African art, was banned for more than a decade by French censors as an attack on French colonialism and is a deeply felt study of African art and the decline it underwent as a result of its contact with Western civilization. Marker's characteristically witty and thoughtful commentary is combined with images of a stark formal beauty in this passionate outcry against the fate of an art that was once integral to communal life but became debased as it fell victim to the demands of another culture.
NB: An actor seated onstage will read the commentary translated in English live with the projection
7.00-8.00pm: Talk with Professor Sophie Bessis
Sophie Bessis is a historian and journalist, and a Professor at the University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris I). In her book "Western Supremacy, the Triumph of an Idea?" (Zed Books, 2003), Bessis tells the story of the West's relationship with the world it came to dominate -- from the conquest of the Americas, through the slave trade and the Scramble for Africa, the White Man's burden, Manifest Destiny and the growth of 'scientific' racism, to decolonisation, the ideology of development and structural adjustment. Western Supremacy is the history of colonial and developmentalist thought. Starting with the Enlightenment idea of universality it traces how this facilitated a notion of the West rooted in a Hellenic inheritance systematically shorn of Egyptian or Arab influences. Though the hierarchy of races has now given way to the hierarchy of development, Bessis argues that 'developmentalism' is the new incarnation of the West's paradoxical aspiration to lead the world into universalism whilst maintaining its own supremacy. She will be in conversation with Profesor E.A. Brett, Professor of Development Studies at the London School of Economics.
8.00pm: Film - "Sans Soleil" ("Sunless"), by Chris Marker (1983)
On the surface, this remarkable filmed essay by the legendary Chris Marker--the French filmmaking pioneer whose extraordinary works about the properties of memory (including the 1962 La Jetée) comprise a chapter of French New Wave history--appears to be a kind of travelogue. Using narration, documentary footage, photographs, and various sorts of mental meanderings, Marker constructs a cinematic parallel to the inherent adventures in journeying through different parts of the world. With great, self-effacing wit, Marker invokes that sense of broadened wisdom and vision that accompanies travel, as well as the delicate problem of trying to communicate the scale of that wisdom and vision to others. The delightful movie takes us to many fascinating sights in Tokyo, but what really develops is a dialogue with the audience about the nature of a filmmaker's pact with them, as well as the insecurity of trying to live up to that promise. A wonderful, clear-eyed experience, one that makes you wonder why Marker continues to be tagged with the obfuscating tag of "experimentalist." --Tom Keogh
Where: Ciné Lumière (at the Institut Français)
17 Queensberry Place
London SW7 2DT
For further information, please contact: Box Office: 0207 073 1350
Les Statues Meurent Aussi + Talk : £5 / £3 conc.
Sans Soleil : £7 / £5 conc.
Price for the whole evening : £9 / £7 conc.
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