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I have seen Sans Soleil
probably about a dozen times and each time it is a new film to me. The
narrator’s voice is so soothing, so monotone, so packed with
philosophical observations that I tend to completely space out for 10,
15, 20 minutes at a time while watching this film, every time. So
despite my many viewings, I think I have yet to really see the whole
thing. Each time something new jumps out at me, something that I’d
never heard or noticed before. Sure, there are a few things that I
remember on each viewing–the museum of penis statues, for example, or
the temple of cats, or the troupe of Japanese teenagers who perform an
odd dance each week in some square. But for the most part the film is
still undiscovered territory for me. From last night’s viewing, where I
projected a new print (‘projected’ being used loosely here, as the HFA
projectionist splices all the reels onto one enormous reel for me and
threads it through the machine, so all I do is flip a series of
switches and go get him if there’s a problem), there were a few things
that jumped out at me. Perhaps when watching a film this dense, with so
many images and ideas flying past you, the things that stick in your
mind reveal more about your state of mind than about the film itself:

“I have been around the world several times and now only banality interests me.”

“All women have a built-in grain of indestructibility, and it is men’s job to make them realize it as late as possible.”

4 Responses to “Sunless”

  1. Matt
    April 14th, 2005 | 11:31 am

    The thing that always sticks with me is the idea of emus in the zone. And the kids hitting the ground to scare away the moles.

    It’s a beautiful, ineffable film, though, you’re right. Watching it’s like breathing air on top of a mountain where it’s thin.

  2. cynthia rockwell
    April 14th, 2005 | 9:04 pm

    yes i like that metaphor.

  3. Chuck
    April 15th, 2005 | 12:36 am

    Jeez, I’ve written an article on that film, and it’s still different every time I watch it.

    The “emus in the Zone” metaphor is certainly one that sticks with me, and I’ve always loved the sequence where Marker’s camera exchanges gazes with the African woman in the market

  4. cynthia rockwell
    April 15th, 2005 | 4:26 pm

    yes i think the sequence with the african woman is the one where the narrator delivers the women-indestructible line. i like that one too.