Nicolò Grasso’s review published on Letterboxd:
Original Title: Sans Soleil
Year of Release: 1983
Director: Chris Marker
Writer: Chris Marker
Main Cast: Alexandra Stewart
2000th log on Letterboxd since 1st January 2016!
Sans Soleil is a documentary whose meaning truly escapes me. Is this a highlight reel of a director's journeys in Japan and Guinea-Bissau? Is it a deep meditation about the meaning of place and time in modern society? Is it a showcase of how things are different yet similar in two of the most different countries in the world?
It is probably all of the above, and everyone will take something different out of it. I have a really sweet spot for documentaries like this, interested in understanding a foreign culture that is elusive and borderline alien, rather than simply observing it in a superficial way. The way this is shot and edited, free-flowing and eclectic in what is shown, almost put me in an hypnotic state, entranced by the images and Stewart's soft voice-over.
Chris Marker is pretty brilliant, and I can confirm this after having loved both this and his experimental short film La Jetée. The meta-cinematic elements present here were terrific, especially a sequence where women stare directly into the camera as he films them. It is an ode to film as a medium, with a prolonged sequence where Marker visits the locations of Hitchcock's Vertigo, a meditation on the power of cinema and how it captures memories and makes them immortal, become part of history.
Really dense documentary, one that is easily among the finest I have ever seen, and a damn good way to celebrate my 2000th diary log ever since I joined Letterboxd. I love this community, I love movies, and I love all those who spend the time to read my sometimes aimless reviews. Thank you very much!
Visual Effects: 9
Violence & Gore: 8
Sex & Nudity: 6
Drugs & Profanity: 2
Intensity & Horror: 4