Original, intelligent, whimsical
redoubt | Brooklyn | 01/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think this is a wonderful DVD. The main film is charming, clever, and has more to say than is obvious straight away. The shorts that are with it are worth the price of the DVD all by themseves. I particularly loved the short CAT LISTENING TO MUSIC. And there is a somewhat longer short doc (17 minutes) about whales which will break your heart. All together i think this is really one of Marker's best."
A playful film by an extraordinarily original filmmaker
Dominique Elliott | Savannah, GA USA | 02/20/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Chris Marker holds a unique place in cinema, with an approach to his subjects that is intensely personal, philosophical and poetic. This film is a fascinating study of social and political state of Paris and French politics following the events of September 11th and the ensuing war in Iraq. It is not unlike "Le Joli Mai" a 1962 documentary by Marker that focused on the state of mind of Parisians immediately following the end of the Algerian War. Both films, made 40 years apart, capture with humor the ironies of political activism, of political manipulations, and of hopes lost and regained.
The cat, an animal worshiped by Marker, is fiercely independent and "never on the side of power." He serves here as the backdrop for Marker's musings through the streets and the subway. The grinning cat appears over the rooftops of the city, in tunnels, on sidewalks, and finally in political protests. Real cats also punctuate the film, most notably "Bolero," a cat who resides in the metro station of Strasbourg St Denis.
One of the final scenes (mentioned by another reviewer) is a reference to a murder that captivated the French media's attention for months: the brutal murder of actress Marie Trintignant by her boyfriend Bertrand Cantat, a French rock singer. Marker speaks of the ways in which tragedy quickly turns into a form of merchandizing, perhaps one of the most telling signs of our times.
This is a film essay with an English narration. The narration is well translated and captures the appropriate tone. Some of the graphics in French and the shots of advertisements and signs might get lost on the viewers not familiar with the language but the film will still be highly accessible regardless.