Time travel, still images, past, present and future and the aftermath of World War III. The tale of a man, a slave, sent back and forth, in and out of time, to find a solution to the world's fate, to replenish its decreasing stocks of food, medicine and energies, and in doing so, resulting in a perpetual memory of a lone female, life, death and past events that are recreated on an airport jetty.Written by
This is the story of a man marked by an image of his childhood. The violent scene which upset him, and whose meaning he was to grasp only years later, happened on the main pier at Orly, Paris Airport, sometime before the outbreak of World War Three.
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The opening credits do not describe it as a film, but "un photo-roman." See more »
Vastness of Space
Music by Trevor Duncan
Plays during the time travel scene near the end
Boosey & Hawkes Ltd See more »
I had never seen such an original film that works so well. The artist with no budget decides to make a film that could have appealed to the commercial masses. That is what is scary about it. It's the kind of story that we would consider "blockbuster gold". A journey through time, sci-fi, and romance. And yet, it requires no special effects, it requires no big budget. Marker laughs right at the face of conventional cinema and uses stills to let out imagination read between the lines.
Is this fiction? Yes, to some extent. The post-apocalyptic story that it recounts would make Waterworld blush with embarrassment, true. But once again, the arty film looks at us to find a meaning for the story. At the end of the day, are we more taken aback by the technical aspect in which Marker engages, or by the shocking finale. Would the finale have been so shocking had Marker used a Bolex camera? I fear not. The bit where he's running towards the girl in the end feels like an average nightmare, where you're running, but you can't get to wherever you want to get to. It's a feeling we have all felt, and the lack of movement within the frame conveys a certain feeling of helplessness and entrapment that could only have been achieved this well with stills.
And we must say, these stills are amazing. It's not only the elaborate mise-en-scene, or the design of the sets and the props (the french sci-fi glasses are extraordinary). It's also the placement of the camera, that has a ghostly versatility that often adds to the lack of comfort of the restless characters.
I must also give a shout for the score that is amazing, which is strange if we count that your average experimental film hardly ever employs such "cinematic" scores, always going for the more minimalist (and generally less expansive) ones.
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