films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
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Sans Soleil

1983 / 100m - France
Sans Soleil poster

Not so much a narrative film or a typical documentary, but more of a film essay. The kind you'd rather expect to see in a museum. It comes with high acclaim and from what I'd read Marker kept a rather strong focus on Japan, but even then this film failed to capture my attention, let alone sustain it.

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Visually it's rather poor. Rather grainy footage that feels quite random and haphazard. Some very crude filters here and there are supposed to make the visuals a bit more abstract, but just made them look cheaper. That's half of the film, the other half is a droning voice-over that does its best to be pensive and philosophical.

The insights in Japanese culture (and a few others) range from rather simplistic too construed and farfetched. The form was absolutely bland and didn't get me in the right mood for this and with a runtime of more than 100 minutes and even some repetition, I got quite annoyed by the end of it.

Statues also Die

Les Statues Meurent Aussi
1953 / 30m - France
Statues also Die poster

What starts as a short documentary on African art and culture becomes a call to do away with racism. It's a noble cause and it may have been a bit more mind-blowing back in the day, but a good 70 years later I think most of us will agree that a documentary like this didn't make the difference it hoped to make.

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The first part of the documentary is presented like a more old-fashioned take on African culture, throughout the documentary new insights are added to the point where the narrator finally comes to his conclusion: black and white aren't that different from each other, no matter what some people have been claiming.

It could've been a smart setup to convince the naysayers, but the rambling and often cheesy narration, the godawful soundtrack and the short runtime don't really help to get the point across, and the road to this obvious conclusion feels too labored and random to make a big impression. At least the directors deserve credit for trying.