A Grin without a Cat (Le Fond de l’air est rouge)

A Grin without a Cat (Le Fond de l’air est rouge)

Born Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve on July 29, 1921 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, Chris Marker was the master of the cinematic essay, fusing fiction, documentary, and experimental techniques in creating associations that put in debate contemporary philosophical and political notions. Employing a range of montage techniques, Marker made films that engaged in the culture, but were often mysterious, even poetic and playful, seemingly conspiring to give the films a sense of provocation, as though he was using his camera to explore something about the human condition that film and film alone could access.

A Grin without a Cat (Le Fond de l’air est rouge)
dir. Chris Marker, France, 1977, digital video, 180 mins. color and b/w, French w/ English subtitles

“Some think the third World War will be set off by a nuclear missile. For me, that’s the way it will end. In the meantime, the figures of an intricate game are developing, a game who’s decoding will give historians of the future – if they are still around – a very hard time.
A weird game. Its rules change as the match evolves. To start with, the super powers’ rivalry transforms itself not only into a Holy Alliance of the Rich against the Poor, but also into a selective co-elimination of Revolutionary Vanguards, wherever bombs would endanger sources of raw materials. As well as into the manipulation of these vanguards to pursue goals that are not their own.

During the last ten years, some groups of forces (often more instinctive than organized) have been trying to play the game themselves – even if they knocked over the pieces. Wherever they tried, they failed. Nevertheless, it’s been their being that has the most profoundly transformed politics in our time. This film intends to show some of the steps of this transformation”. – Chris Marker

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