Level Five

  • Film
  • Documentaries
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Level one is reserved for Communists, Catholics, anarchists and the rest. Level two is for those with with a modicum of wit and self-awareness. That's as high as we get - except perhaps in death. Like Marker's masterpiece, Sunless, this is an essay film drawing on documentary and fiction techniques (crucially, aspects of correspondence); it uses the future as a conduit to the past - sci-fi as memory - a theme that takes us, naturally, to Japan. The central authorial conceit here is not without problems: Belkhodja interfacing with computer and remote-controlled camera, trying to complete a game which reconstructs the battle of Okinawa, 1945. It's easy to get lost in cyberspace. Marker goes from odd socks to military annihilation in the blink of an eye; he can be too quick to make connections, too indulgent of the muse (a toy parrot comes to mind). Yet the history of Okinawa is fascinating: 150,000 died, one third of the island's population, many by mass suicide (we meet a man who killed his entire family, rather than let them fall to the Yankee demons). Here are the foundations for Hiroshima. If ever there was a film-maker who might come up with a Theory of Everything, it's Marker.

Release details

Duration: 106 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Chris Marker
Screenwriter: Chris Marker
Cast: Catherine Belkhodja
Kenji Tokitsu
Nagisa Oshima
Junishi Ushiyama
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