Close Up

28 November 2017: Memory, Politics and Power


The politics and the power of the image are revealed through Godard's deconstruction of a photograph and Marker's construction of a film.

Letter to Jane: An Investigation About a Still
Jean-Luc Godard & Jean-Pierre Gorin
1972 | 52 min | B/W | Digital

“This extraordinary little movie emerged from the then recently formed French Dziga Vertov film collective, led by Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin. […] Godard and Gorin had originally become united in a dream of a new revolutionary cinema, and to all intents and purposes the Dziga Vertov Group became these two men, as other members broke off to form their own equally obsessive and more or less purist groups. […] The entire premise of Letter to Jane is a deconstruction of a notorious news photograph of Jane Fonda visiting Hanoi and surrounded by Vietnamese communists. The best parts of the film function as a withering critique of the iconography of Hollywood and the (fashionably unfashionable) Hollywood star system.” – Jonathan Dawson

La Jetée
Chris Marker
1962 | 28 min | B/W | Digital

Chris Marker's seminal science fiction photo-roman (photo-novel) is set in a post-apocalyptic present where Paris's surviving inhabitants live underground in the galleries of the Palais de Chaillot. La Jetée's circular, paradoxical narrative frames the story of an individual trapped in time. Experimented on by his captors he is forced to travel within his memory's mental images into a past and future built on recollections and connections. The hope of deliverance, or the pursuit of change, is based on the strength of memory's images, the premise that if one were "able to conceive, or to dream another time perhaps would they be able live in it." As such, he is trapped not only in memory, but also within history, as caught between fragments of still images and text we follow the fractured relations between fiction and memory full circle, from formation to destruction, stillness to movement.

Part of festival 2017