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Video of the day. Chris Marker's "OVERNIGHT" (2011)

Chris Marker assembles a wry, forlorn photo collage from the recent London riots.

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Let’s call it a touch uninspired instead! Unless the auteurists would like to claim it as another masterpiece from Marker.
I wouldn’t call it that — it seems to me to clearly be a sketch put together quickly after the events. Marker is one of the few working filmmakers who seems to have no problem making feature films and playing around with smaller works with new technology. It makes him one of the most agile and responsive artists today, and this considering he just celebrated his 90th birthday!
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All maybe well and true but agility and responsiveness alone do not necessarily make good films, as witnessed here. I would also question the agility displayed (though I appreciate the responsiveness). This feels like the work of an old man!
Time Chris Marker to pack it in. Dull, uninspired and rather pointless.
Lots of Chris Marker’s work look like a mistery. Let’s not see only the raw result. The soundtrack is quite disturbing indeed..
I just didn’t see how this added anything to a newsreel. It felt more like a Tory party campaign video.
Ali
Regrettably, I can’t see that this really gets us anywhere. A shame, because I was excited when I saw the announcement.
It’s a small, minor video but I did not find myself completely unaffected by it. What is interesting for me in it is that the couples of images (before and after) gestures in slightly unsettling ways (also thanks to the music) towards what is missing in between the two moments, which thus is inexplicable; indeed, when three images are used (before, during—the edifice in flames—and after) the combination seems less effective.
Thanks for the thoughts, laura. I think it’s easy to look at the lofi, offhand media Marker has often been using lately (cf the masterpiece STOPOVER IN DUBAI on his website) for some of his smaller contributions and dismiss it out of hand rather than address how he’s using that same media.
Marker continues to have the courage of embracing the new in terms of technology, while also constantly reminding us that the newest technology of today will become obsolescent by tomorrow. In a sense, it’s what he did here also.
Herbie S might be right… I checked the film 400 coups (400 blows) with it, and the music is very similar. This might give us a clue for reading this little work: once you understand the central theme of 400 coups, the parallels to the recent events are obvious: a youth that – when observed from a distance – seems to be violent and disturbing, both from a loser look seems to be working hard for some understanding. I don’t know if I agree with Chris Marker on the London Riots.. but seen as a cinematic message there is a point.
Was it my imagination, or was it “Allied Carpets” that looked so carpet bombed? It’s a diffident short I think. I find a few of the diachronic images to be quite disturbingly witty. Take Nando’s (of multiple advert. controversy) and the Police declaring that one should not cross the line and enter into this Nando’s. Nando’s, a branding and marketing crime scene?! Or, the irony of looting a well empty looking casino/wagering shop – “I bet there’s value in there” loot the youth. Or, the opening shot of some sort of Butter Fingers (a misplaced, inept riot?; a slippery short movie to follow?; an international and local brand name culled from an homely metaphor advertised, once upon a time, by dropping the candy bars from aeroplanes onto unsuspecting future customers? – indexically, “Break out of the Ordinary” indeed!). Laura, I liked your comments, but I disagree on one point: there is an element of showing the “in-between”. It takes place in front of the only building in the short that resembles a public institution. And here we see one hooded male [and many neither cheering nor jeering (they are diffident, if you like) spectators] throwing what appears to be “a molotov cocktail TM” – but not at the inst. And, the before shot has virtually no one from the community coming in or out of this inst. In fact, it is “To Let”. The ‘during’ shot has an assembled crowd. It’s the busiest and brightest the community centre has been in months! The final series of shots, the allied carpet bombing might just be hyperbole… I’ll give you that, but I think it’s an entry point to the short at the end of the movie. This is how Jackthe Hat is also right: the video could be a Tory advert. Kristallnacht is a reference point. Some years have passed. Some positions are inverted. Tease it out. [400 Blows is indispensable here – thanks, herbie s.] It is, and might possibly be only possible as, the work of a 90 year old filmmaker. The diffidence, though, didn’t come with age. I’ve rather always respected Marker’s diffidence. Nothing stale about this couple of minutes.
Thank you Piscavio for that close reading, it is invaluable!
Sometimes a particular series of images can get to the tangible truth of an issue, EVEN IF those images might usefully comprise a Tory advert. Marker’s little film is such a series. The very title suggests (once we begin to observe the shots) how instantly those institutions and structures we take for granted may vanish, be destroyed, or be irrevocably altered. Last night the world was whole; this morning it is in shards and ashes. The sheer physicality of things which create familiar spaces, habits, and memories emerges in Marker’s shots; it recalls how the cruel beatings delivered by the Turkish officer reminded Lawrence that he was indeed made of flesh like the rest of us. This is not a small point. I live in an area recently HUGELY altered by tornadoes. A community I have known since childhood no longer has any spaces where shadows exist; think about that. Marker reminds us that storefronts are spaces that often tangibly define our community spaces, irrespective of intangible cultural or political notions about consumer culture. Likewise, humans live and work and often depend upon those physical structures and the familiarity of the spaces so defined. About middle-way through this film, it dawned on me that this very notion dismantles any and all arguments toward sympathy or empathy with the people responsible for the destruction, no matter how many pretzel twists are required to mitigate the destruction of a privately owned, decades-old shop, for example. I also like how Marker reveals just how many of these ruined structures clearly held a bounty of consumer goods for the looters, yet no possible means of protesting or bringing any larger thought (beyond petty desire) to their actions. As though they might even have larger thoughts.
Rose
In the Youtube comments for this video Kosinki says it’s The Times’ work, not his. You can see the comment here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zhPnc-T_bE Don’t think this negates all of the insights the piece conjured for people, but I felt I should mention it.

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