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April 2002, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Dylan McGinty <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 24 Apr 2002 12:41:04 -0400
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Chris Marker's masterpiece A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT is premiering Wednesday,
May 1st, at Film Forum in New York City (and in other cities throughout the

"Marker doesn't boast that he has succeeded in making a dialectical film.
But he has tried (having in his time, he says, abused the exercise of power
by the commentator-director) for once to give back to the viewer, through
montage, his own commentary; which is to say, his own power." - Richard
Roud, Sight and Sound (1977)

"Much more than a weapon, more than a history lesson intended to provoke
our revolutionary consciousness, this feature film is the result of lucid
reflection and profound honesty." - Michel Perez, Le Matin (November 25, 1977)

"The subject at hand is how, in the sixties, the 'universal standard of
civilization' assumed from the fifties began to collapse. The war in
Vietnam - that 'nation placed at the convergence of the world's
contradictions' - was the watershed, and Marker skillfully and hauntingly
depicts its effect. He goes on to show the many civilian-police battles
throughout Europe; the revolution within the revolution in Asia, South
America, and Czechoslovakia; the space between the police and union
stewards into which the French Left rushed in May '68; the assassination of
princes (Che Guevara) and the deposing of kings (Richard Nixon); and those
Cheshire Cats commonly known as politicians who cannot explain why what was
in the air never quite materialized on the ground." - Pacific Film Archives

A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT (its French title is just as charmingly seductive, LE
FOND DE L'AIR EST ROUGE) is Marker's magnum opus: a 3-hour overview of the
success and failure of the left during the 1960s and 70s.

Marker interweaves stunning amount and diversity of footage into A GRIN
WITHOUT A CAT, from May '68 in Paris, to the Vietnam War and the anti-war
protests, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Che Guevara and Regis
Debray in Bolivia, the Shah of Iran, Fidel Castro, et alia.

Marker ("The still little-known genius of documentary" - David Thomson, NY
Times Book Review) is a modern legend: an elusive French filmmaker with an
American sounding name who has rarely been seen or interviewed, but whose
films are among the most influential philosophical and political
meditations to be committed to celluloid.

"This film is a mirror held up to each of us, a mirror that wanders through
all the paths that we have taken or crossed (Vietnam war protests,
pro-Latin America movement, May of '68, the rise and fall of the Left) and
encourages us to reflect along with it about the journey and its goal." -
Regis Debray, Rouge, December 28, (1977)

" [5 Stars]. One of the most towering and extraordinary films to grace the
screen! Staggering in its depth and scope.... A monumental political elegy
to a not-so-distant era. An event of major importance." - Film Threat (2002)

Dylan M. McGinty
Acquisitions and Marketing

First  Run  /  Icarus  Films, Inc.
32 Court Street, 21st Floor
Brooklyn NY 11201

Tel........................(718) 488 8900 / (800) 876 1710
Fax.......................(718) 488 8642
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