A new story from Filmspotting



But just thinking about it in those terms, switching the idea of the gays and who's in control is something that adds to that unease a little bit as a viewer. And he does it again when he talks about the characters on Japanese television and he shows those close ups where they're all breaking the fourth wall and they're looking back at you as if Japanese TV is watching you, not you watching TV. He also has a Kirsten Johnson like moment that's all about seeing and who's doing the seeing when he shows an African woman a young woman and he talks through or the narrator talks through almost in real time what we're seeing on screen, which is that that dance documentarians and subjects do sometimes where the subject knows they're being watched, but they're acting like they're not being watched because they know that's what they're supposed to do. But then there's something maybe a little bit artificial about it. And there's a moment where we see the eyes actually do glance at the camera. Those were the types of moments and that conversation around how you see the world and how the camera as a tool forces you to see things differently. That's where I got the most enjoyment out of this film. And I know this is a line that you loved as well, Josh. So I won't spoil it here too much, but maybe the most poetic line in the film and another great moment of the imagery and the voice-over matching is the shot we get of the willow and a heritage in the water. And that's another thing that just literally flips on its head, what is what is happening or the dynamic of those images? Well, and then shifting from dissolving from an actual shot of a Heron in a willow tree to a painting of it. That's flipped. Yeah, there's some gorgeous stuff there. And I'm glad you mentioned that. Because I do know it's one we both appreciate, but also as I get into this other point, I want to make, you know, there is some visual beauty or intrigue. It doesn't always have to be beautiful. Visual intrigue in this film absolutely. I think of another shot of a woman who is in a line. It looks like there may be bricklayers, they're tossing bricks, one man tosses it to her. She tosses it to another guy and she's in the middle of the screen. There's just something about the rhythm where the sun, I believe it's the sun. It might even be the moon during the day is in the sky. And so there are arresting images like that. I was hoping for more of them. I think to carry me through this to give me some visual information along with all of the narrative information and this is what also brought to mind another movie that I know came to mind for you as well. Again, because of what the films we've looked at together on the show, but chantel Ackerman's news from home. Now this might be one. You mentioned how camera person maybe was influenced by saint Soleil. You have to wonder, you know, news from home. Is 19 70 6, right? So did akerman influence marker here in some way because in that documentary, we see footage of mostly nighttime scenes in New York City where she has moved while she reads letters from her mother. Kind of passive aggressively trying to wooing her back. To leave the United States. And one of the things I was wowed about was the visual ingenuity, aukerman found in these mundane images of nighttime at New York City. I think of just one of pizza baker outside looking inside of him from outside and how reflections from other neon signs have kind of imprinted these red letters on his head. I talked when we reviewed it about that scene on the subway, where it's just a long, almost documentary slow cinema of just a fixed shot as we go from station to station, but there's a woman standing there and how her image, we see her reflection in the window of the subway car, and then we go through a tunnel and it's gone. Is she going to come back? Is she not? And how that transfixed me. I am sure there are more moments like that in sans Soleil that I missed because I was trying to keep up. Or I missed because I didn't have the cultural, you know, I'm more culturally comfortable with a movie set in New York City, right? In English language documentary. So I am sure there are other examples we could think of. But that was one reason, it's just interesting to me. Like news from home, equally as dense, I would say, in different ways, but struck me as a masterpiece right out of the gate, where a son say, as I've suggested, I'm still struggling with a little bit. Yeah, I definitely didn't think about news from home and akerman as well. And I think I made the mistake initially in my mind of assuming that sans Soleil must have been first and inspired news from home. And that's because of its reputation, but also I think because of its scale. News from home is so much more intimate than this film, not that it's any less ambitious, but of course it was 19 76 and this was 83 and you have to assume that it was an influence. I would say that if you're putting together an art house drive in double feature around sans Soleil, the movie you have to pair it with, you could think about a Kirsten Johnson film, definitely camera person would come to mind, but it really does have to be news from home. And I even went back and looked at our notes, looked at my notes from our conversation. Did not anticipate this, but the second line of my notes. About the akerman film is just the word disconnection. So I very much was feeling the same thing and thought the filmmakers were exploring a lot of the same ideas watching both films. Sans Soleil is currently streaming on the criterion channel and it's available VOD for the full Sight & Sound marathon

Coming up next