A Grin Without a Cat

“It isn’t the death of the corporeal body Marker is so much concerned with, but the death of hope—that chimera of a better, more just, Cheshire-smile of a world in the offering that was to be strangled by bureaucrats, zealots, cultural conformists, media overload, spiritual exhaustion, insensate venality, apathy.” –Howard Hampton, Film Comment

Chris Marker’s 1977 essay film traverses historical moments and movements with the grace and poetry for which the director is eternally known (plus a few signature cats). Focusing on the global political turmoil of the 60s and 70s, and the expansive hopes of revolutionaries and socialists, Marker elucidates both the vagueness and intensity of dreams for the future. As the French title (Le fond de l’air est rouge, or “the essence of the air is red”) reminds us, what is in the air is not what rules the world.

Dir. Chris Marker, 1977, 35mm, 180 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!