According to Wikipedia, Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil (literally translating as “Sunless”) is ” meditation on the human nature of memory,” so it seems only fitting how little I can remember of this film. As such this a review I’ll be writing more to cross it off than to say I’ve seen it, as what little I can recall is not something I wish to experience again.
As with Koyaanisqatsi, I entered into Sans Soleil with nothing but low expectations, and once again these were sadly not met. It’s another plotless, aimless wonder interspersed with the ramblings of either a philosopher or a madman, sometimes I find it hard to tell the difference. Playing out like a travel documentary devoid of anything interesting to cover, this largely follows the letters from fictional cameraman Sandor Krasna. It begins in and mostly stays within Japan, occasionally jumping to other countries but mainly depicting the various intricacies of Japanese culture. There’s a temple dedicated to lost cats, a penis gallery complete with taxidermy models of animals mid-copulation. We also see excerpts from Japanese television, including pornography, which is never something I want surprised on me. At one point I thought this might be split into three segments, with each one taking place in a different country and contrasting their different ways of life when a ceremony is held in Japan to bury dolls, and we then cut to African children delirious at the notion of having toys to play with, thereby showing how one country’s rituals would seem alien and insane to another’s, but we head back to Japan not long after.
Whilst in Africa (Guinea-Bissau, to be precise) there were a few aggravating moments, such as a cameraman trying desperately to film a woman who doesn’t want to be filmed, at which point I thought he should stop being an asshole and stop trying to film her. Later there’s giraffe hunting. Fuck any movie that shows me someone killing a giraffe, or pretty much any other animal for that matter. The giraffe is shot, falls, gets up and is shot again, bleeding heavily from the neck. It slowly collapses whilst being shot a few more times, and then I knew I was done with this so-called film.
My notes beyond that point are illegible, and I don’t want to remember anything else. If this film truly was voted by Sight and Sound as being the number 3 greatest documentary of all time, then that probably goes some way to explain why I’m neither a fan of documentaries nor Sight and Sound.
Choose Life 1/10