Chris Marker’s remarkable documentary about the rise and fall of the New Left in the 1960s and 1970s was originally released in 1977, but was reworked in 1993 in the wake of the Cold War’s end and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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Not for the kiddies. Listen to fighter pilots wax poetic on napalm, and American Nazis explain how to be a patriot. See various forms of torture, including water-boarding. 3 hours is appropriate to see the sweep of history. "Grin without a Cat" may be the ultimate metaphor for this time period. So much misguided behaviour!
I still have reservations about this film. It's not the rhetoric what I expect from a filmmaker of genius like Chris Marker. Although it is a revolutionary rhetoric. I think there is too much rhetoric (socialist? communist? castrist?), in a form of nostalgia, at times, in these three hours - full of exciting moments, however - to make it a truly remarkable documentary.
A transition from being smart to wise as he observes the internal contradictions of the international leftist movements of the 60s and 70s and gives those contradictions a humanist meaning in the 1993 cut. What remains of the '77 cut is an ethnography depressed to talking heads documentary containing and keeping alive the figures and events of an ignored and disappearing history. --PolarisDiB
Our Daily Free Stream (...) Sein Werk steckt voller Anspielungen, ist ungeheuer eindringend und sehr bewegend (was ich gar nicht erwartet hätte!). Nicht zuletzt ist A Grin Without A Cat filmisch ungeheuer reich! Das Leben, wie der Verstand es wahrnimmt, klingt hier nach als Echo auf das Leben ausserhalb. (Dazu gibts unsere Film List Nouvelle Vague Rive Gauche auf cinegeek.de
Documentary footage combines shocking acts of violence and political theater in Marker's attempt to make sense of the turmoil in the 1960's. As passionate as the players were and as high as the stakes seemed, it all seems very naive. It was interesting but difficult to relate to.