I will have spent my life trying to understand the function of remembering,
which is not the opposite of forgetting, but rather its lining. We do not
remember. We rewrite memory much as history is rewritten. How can
one remember thirst.
I’ve been around the world several times and now only banality still interests
me. On this trip I’ve tracked it with the relentlessness of a bounty hunter. At
dawn we’ll be in Tokyo.
- At other times, however, Marker’s narrative reminds me a bit of the often hackneyed and clichéd notions of culture that we have seen in French theorists who talk of the entire US in terms of Los Angeles and Las Vegas in vague overstatements that have little to do with the reality of those places, let alone the whole country. In short, Marker’s narrator often finds profound ideas in what might be quite meaningless to the cultures themselves, reminding me a bit also of the late 19th and early 20th century European and American “orientalism,” a fascination with anything that seemed different, without the ability of those “orientalists” to put the images upon which they focused in proper context. Marker’s film often makes large claims for the banal activities he explores. For example, his observation of Japanese horror movies—“Japanese horror movies have the cunning beauty of certain corpses.”—may be an absolutely legitimate conclusion, but one would like to know how he has come to this conclusion and where it leads. Time and again, Marker’s narrator settles of such seemingly profound generalities without explaining their meaning or significance in the whole.