Here is Chris Marker’s magnum opus in all its ferocious intelligence and scale Originally released in 1977, and reedited in 1996, the rise and fall of the Left is ostensibly Marker’s subject, the great political revolutions of the 60s and 70s, totemic figures like Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, composed like a heaving orchestra of archival material, demonstrations, occupations, and blood in the streets.
The title, translated as “the entrance exam,” is an in-depth and intimate look at the students looking to gain a place in La Fémis, one of the most famous and prestigious film schools in the world (Simon herself was the Head of Directing Studies). As the budding cinéastes struggle to find a place, the narrative spends a good deal of time with their interlocutors, pulling back the curtain to reveal the depth of seriousness and care that is extended to the students.
The legendary 13-part series, commissioned by Arte and the Onassis Foundation (that kept Marker’s work unavailable for twenty years), alights at DOXA in its first three episodes Interviews were filmed in Tbilisi, Athens, Paris, Berkeley, and Tokyo. The cast of character is equally expansive with composers, filmmakers, philosophers, and friends including Iannis Xenakis, Michel Serres, Cornelius Castoriadis, George Steiner, Oswyn Murray, Michel Jobert, and Elia Kazan. But what is most startling are the ideas examined.
Underwater hydrophones have detected an ultra low-frequency sound emanating from a point 1,500 miles off the coast of Chile. No one can explain it. Scientists have dubbed it “the bloop.” Cara Cusumano’s eerily beautiful film explores the mysteries that lie beneath the ocean’s surface. -JC
Moving between past and present, Ghost Ship takes the viewer on a circuitous voyage from Oscar Wilde and Florence Balcombe to F.W. Murnau and a Portuguese party boat — discovering the history of blood science, film tinting, and the cruise ship industry along the way.
When James Pollard is given a terminal cancer diagnosis, he sets about orchestrating his own death. Like any good theatre producer, he researches options into different modes of burial, and the best means and methodologies of preserving his body after death. This may sound slightly morbid, but the practicality, and often surprising amounts of humour, with which James contends with his situation allows for an openness and freedom in dealing with death.
A portrait of photographer Denise Bellon, who pioneered the art of photojournalism, Remembrance of Things to Come is bookended by two Surrealist exhibitions (1938 and 1947). Or, as Marker terms them: “Two small Islands of strangeness, as between two hands.” Circuitous and discursive, the narrative is pinned in place by Bellon’s extraordinary eye.
It starts with a pulse. A single beat of sound From a generic Montreal subway platform to the most far-flung parts of the planet, Elsewhere explores the human passion for movement and the undeniable siren song of travel. This is a film that is felt, as much as witnessed, pushed along by a propulsive soundtrack and zippy animation.
Yan Chun Su observes the last of Tibet’s drokpa (nomads) as they lead herds of yak and sheep over hilly grasslands. No longer limitless, the drokpa move across the section of pasture randomly allotted to them by the Chinese government. The film captures the last years of an agentive people caught inside a political and ecological landscape beyond their control.