A Grin Without A Cat
By Chris Marker
August 19 | 7 pm
A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT is Chris Marker’s epic film-essay on the worldwide political wars of the 60’s and 70’s: Vietnam, Bolivia, May ’68, Prague, Chile, and the fate of the New Left.
Described by Marker as “scenes of the Third World War,” the film (the original French title is virtually untranslatable) is divided into two parts, each weaving together two strands:
Part 1: Fragile Hands
1. From Vietnam to Che’s death
2. May 1968 and all that
Part 2: Severed Hands
1. From Spring in Prague to the Common Program of Government in France
2. From Chile to – to what?
From 1967 (the year Marker argues was the real turning point) on, A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT is a sweeping, global contemplation of a defining ten years’ political history.
Click here for a statement from Chris Marker.
“***** [5 Stars] One of the most towering and extraordinary films to grace the screen! Staggering in its depth and scope…. A monumental political elegy to a not-so-distant era. An event of major importance.”—Film Threat (2002)
“The subject at hand is how, in the sixties, the ‘universal standard of civilization’ assumed from the fifties began to collapse. The war in Vietnam – that ‘nation placed at the convergence of the world’s contradictions’ – was the watershed, and Marker skillfully and hauntingly depicts its effect. He goes on to show the many civilian-police battles throughout Europe; the revolution within the revolution in Asia, South America, and Czechoslovakia; the space between the police and union stewards into which the French Left rushed in May ’68; the assassination of princes (Che Guevara) and the deposing of kings (Richard Nixon); and those Cheshire Cats commonly known as politicians who cannot explain why what was in the air never quite materialized on the ground.”—Pacific Film Archives (1998)
“Marker doesn’t boast that he has succeeded in making a dialectical film. But he has tried (having in his time, he says, abused the exercise of power by the commentator – director) for once to give back to the viewer, through montage, his own commentary; which is to say, his own power.”—Richard Roud, Sight and Sound (1977)