Reorienting objects in Alain Resnais and Chris Marker’s Les Statues Meurent Aussi

11 Dec 2017

Chris Marker’s six-minute film Junkopia (1981) was shot alongside his ambitious feature-length project Sans Soleil/Sunless (1982). While the latter ‘nomadic’ film-text comprises a string of encounters spanning national and temporal registers with the most vertiginous of gestures, Junkopia’s geographic fixity is striking. The exacting intertitles anchor us in space: a latitude of 37° 45’ north and a longitude of 122° 27’ west. Experimental in nature, the film shows a succession of static shots at varying distances from the filmic subject matter: junk, totems, fantastical statues formed from detritus that presumably once washed up on the shores. Through an unfolding sequence of shots we gradually move closer to the muddy banks. When the objects are framed against the backdrop of moving cars in a motorway lane nearby, the rhythms of everyday life are held in tension with the strangely ahuman, atemporal world of statues.