Remembrance of Things to Come is on the same DVD as Yannick Bellon's Colette
REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS TO COME, the latest "cine-essay" of Chris Marker, is dense and demanding, a splendid reminder that his nimble, capacious mind has lost none of its agility, poetry, and power. Ostensibly a portrait of photographer Denise Bellon, focusing on the two decades between 1935 and 1955, the film leaps and backtracks, Marker-style, from subject to subject, from a family portrait of Bellon and her two daughters, Loleh and Yannick (the latter co-authored the film), to a wide-ranging history of surrealism, of the city of Paris, of French cinema and the birth of the cinémathèque, of Europe, the National Front, the Second World War and Spanish Civil War, and postwar politics and culture.
Full of Marker jokes (a great one about artists and cats), word play (Citroen/citron), filmic homages (Musidora makes a memorable appearance), peculiar art history, a consideration of the 1952 Olympics, and astounding segues from French colonialism in Africa to women in the Maghreb, to a Jewish wedding and gypsy culture in Europe, to Mein Kampf and the Nazi death camps (Birkenau, Auschwitz), the film opens with Dali and ends with Mompou, traversing in its short time a world of thought, feeling, and history.
A small masterpiece of montage, REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS TO COME is from moment to moment reminiscent of Resnais, Ivens, even Kubrick, but in its deployment of still photographs (as in La Jetée), its theme of history and memory, its subject-skipping montage and rapid shuttle of wit and philosophy, REMEMBRANCE is pure, marvelous Marker. — Description written by James Quandt, Senior Programmer, Cinematheque Ontario
“A hypnotic look at an artist in the milieu in which she worked.” —Mike Sebastian, Campus Circle
"The most unforgettable film of any length you will see this year. Mr. Marker's own intrigue with impatience - his fleet films dance by in an instant, while using the music of pauses and silence to convey an almost inscrutable density - is a marvel when married to an admiring biography."—Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times
"The mode is discursive, descriptive, quick-witted, dense. The tone is at once tender and stoic. A certain tough-guy nostalgia is somehow enhanced by the fact that Marker's narrator is a woman (Alexandra Stewart) with a calm, lucid voice. As if emboldened by an air of feminine/feline amusement, intimate asides telescope into riffs of wide-ranging speculation."—Michael Almereyda, Film Comment
"A dizzying, quicksilver imbrication of histories: artistic, political, domestic, cinematic, and (this being Marker) Olympic."—James Quandt's Best Films of 2003, Artforum
"Less discursive and more prescribed - albeit by an extraordinary single archive of pictures - than many of Marker's efforts, REMEMBRANCE is foremost a tribute to a proud career."—Jessica Winter, The Village Voice
"An ingenious use of still photographs. Marker and Bellon not only prompt us to re-imagine the past, but to rethink what the past means, and grasp that our futures are always with us, in embryo."—LA Weekly
"A dazzline montage of images."—Los Angeles Times
"Mr. Marker is an unusually perceptive critic with a razor-sharp, aphoristic turn of mind. [He] proceeds through hundreds of Dellon photographs...teasing out associations, making connections, reading prophecy in reportage. Though it's ultimately addressing the tragedy the 20th Century, this slender little film is a joy."—Nathan Lee, The New York Sun