Few filmmakers live in an artistic world entirely of their own device like French “film essayist” Chris Marker. This Criterion package compiles his two best-known and most influential works, separated by 20 years and bearing little resemblance to one another (or to anything else most viewers have ever seen). Both films explore classic Marker themes of memory, history, and death. La Jetée is a 28-minute work of science fiction composed almost entirely of still photographs and narration. It later provided the foundation for Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys. Sans Soleil delivers a full-length stream-of-consciousness travelogue that shifts abruptly between Japan, Africa, and France to draw unseen connections between disparate cultures. Dense and somewhat difficult at first, each rewards repeat viewings with much greater understanding. The new HD transfers crafted for this release result in the most pristine editions of these films ever released, and the crucial voiceover material comes through clean and strong in LPCM Mono. The extras emphasize the academic context in which Marker’s work can be understood, but Criterion’s beautiful printed booklet does an excellent job of illuminating the artist’s singular world.
Video: 1080p, 1.64:1. Audio: LPCM Mono. Extras: Documentary segments including “Jean-Pierre Gorin,” “Chris on Chris,” “On Vertigo,” “David Bowie’s ‘Jump They Say,’” and “Junkopia”; 44-page printed booklet. Studio: The Criterion Collection.
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