A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT
LE FOND DE L’AIR EST ROUGE
1977, Icarus Films, 180 min, France, Dir: Chris Marker

As brilliant as it is indescribable, GRIN WITHOUT A CAT looks at the rise and fall of the worldwide revolutionary movement, from France in May 1968, to the anti-Vietnam riots in the United States, to the terrible Soviet crushing of the Prague Spring. The French title of the film is untranslatable in English; roughly, it means "Revolution Is in the Air," a metaphor at once wistful and ever-hopeful. Given the current world situation, GRIN WITHOUT A CAT is, now more than ever, an epic event not to be missed. In one of the film’s many high points, Marker dissects the famous Odessa Steps sequence in BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN - a revolutionary landmark that never actually occurred.


ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF ANDREI ARSENEVICH
1999, Icarus Films, 55 min, France, Dir: Chris Marker

"The best single piece of [Andrei] Tarkovsky criticism I know of, clarifying the overall coherence of his oeuvre while leaving all the principal mysteries in his films intact. It becomes clear early on that Marker was an intimate friend of Tarkovsky and his family, and was shooting home-video footage of some of Tarkovsky’s final days in the mid-1980s, when he was dying of cancer, for Tarkovsky and his family’s use as well as his own. But this is handled throughout with exquisite tact and restraint and is never allowed to intrude on the poetic analysis of the features. In fact, the video interweaves biography and autobiography with poetic and political insight in a manner that seldom works as well as it does here, perhaps because personal affection and poetic analysis are rarely as compatible as Marker makes them." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader


THE LAST BOLSHEVIK
1993, Icarus Films, 116 min, France, Dir: Chris Marker

If there’s anything to equal SANS SOLEIL, it may be THE LAST BOLSHEVIK, Chris Marker’s astonishing look at the history of 20th-century Russia through the life and work of his dear friend, filmmaker Alexander Medvedkin. Told in the form of six letters to the late Medvedkin, THE LAST BOLSHEVIK is a film of heartbreaking devotion (to a friend, to an ideology, to film itself), of acidic wit and endless curiosity - oh, hell, we’ve run out of superlatives on this one. It’s simply one of the best films from the past decade - don’t miss it! In French and Russian with English subtitles.


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