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A Grin Without a Cat
(Le Fond de l'air est rouge)

Screening on Film
Directed by Chris Marker.
France, 1977, 35mm, color, 180 min.

After a number of years working anonymously with a filmmaking collective dedicated to activist production, Marker reemerged to again make films under his own name. A Grin Without a Cat was released in its original four-hour long form in 1978, “reactualized” by Marker years later, and reworked again—with a coda added in 1993—the version presented here.  Described by Marker as "scenes of the Third World War," this epic film essay surveys the rise and fall of the worldwide revolutionary movement of the 1960s and 70s, encompassing France in May of 1968, U.S. anti–Vietnam War riots, the Czech uprising and its encounter with the Soviet military, and much more.  The resulting experience is what critic J Hoberman has described as a “grand immersion” into Marker’s distinctive poetic genius, which intermingles all kinds of archival material (including an intriguing analysis of the Odessa steps sequence in Eisenstein’s Potemkin) with willfully eccentric sequences such as the film’s interpolation of footage of an “impressively pagan Belgian cat festival—full of giant floats, puppets, and masques—into a series of public events marking the end of the left.”

Part of program

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Godard, Gorin, Garrel and the Grin Without a Cat

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The Second Life of Chris Marker

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Chris Marker:
Guillaume-en-Égypte

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