The film’s title translates to “without sunlight,” its footage offering no clear perception of time. As she reads steadily through her correspondence with a cameraman, the narrator of Sans Soleil neglects to identify herself. In its excerpts from Japanese horror films, the original sounds barely funnel through the thin white noise. Chris Marker’s part-documentary, part-fictional exploration of the advancement of life darts back and forth between Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and Tokyo, with a brief detour to San Francisco via Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. And even if you’ve never traveled to these places, the unfolding should feel rather familiar—because 27 years after its initial release, the film remains one of the most accurate cinematic depictions of how the mind transforms reality into memories.
SANS SOLEIL SCREENS AT 2 P.M. AT THE FREER GALLERY, 1200 JEFFERSON DR. SW. FREE. (202) 633-4880.