Sans Soleil is a 1983 French film directed by Chris Marker, a meditation on the nature of human memory, showing the inability to recall the context and nuances of memory, and how, as a result, the perception of personal and global histories is affected. In a 2014 Sight and Sound poll, film critics voted Sans Soleil the third best documentary film of all time. The title Sans Soleil is from the song cycle Sunless by Modest Mussorgsky.
Expanding the documentary genre, this experimental essay-film is a composition of thoughts, images and scenes, mainly from Japan and Guinea-Bissau, "two extreme poles of survival". Some other scenes were filmed in Iceland, Paris, and San Francisco. A female narrator reads from letters supposedly sent to her by the (fictitious) cameraman Sandor Krasna.
Sans Soleil is often labeled a documentary, travelogue, or essay-film. Despite the film's modest use of fictional content, it should not be confused with a mockumentary (mock documentary). The fictional content derived from the juxtaposition of narrative and image adds meaning to the film along with occasional nondescript movement between locations and lack of character-based narrative.
He was a French writer, photographer, documentary film director, multimedia artist and film essayist. His best known films are La Jetée (1962), A Grin Without a Cat (1977), Sans Soleil (1983) and AK (1985), an essay film on the Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. Marker is often associated with the Left Bank Cinema movement that occurred in the late 1950s and included such other filmmakers as Alain Resnais, Agnès Varda, Henri Colpi and Armand Gatti.
His friend and sometime collaborator Alain Resnais has called him "the prototype of the twenty-first-century man." Film theorist Roy Armes has said of him: "Marker is unclassifiable because he is unique...The French Cinema has its dramatists and its poets, its technicians, and its autobiographers, but only has one true essayist: Chris Marker."
Directed by: Chris Marker
Written by: Chris Marker (as Sandor Krasna)
Narrated by: Florence Delay (French version)
Alexandra Stewart (English version)
Music by: Chris Marker (as Michel Krasna)
Cinematography: Chris Marker (as Sandor Krasna)
Edited by: Chris Marker
Distributed by: Argos Films
Running time: 100 minutes