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Chris Marker's Bestiary: Five Short Films About Animals
Produced and Directed by Chris Marker
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Chris Marker's Bestiary is on the same DVD as his The Case of the Grinning Cat and his and Mario Ruspoli's Three Cheers for the Whale

French filmmaker Chris Marker (b. 1921) is best known for politically engaged documentaries (A Grin without a Cat, Le Joli Mai and Cuba Si!), for his personalized "cine-essay" films (Sans Soleil, Remembrance of Things to Come and The Case of the Grinning Cat) and the science-fiction classic La Jetée. No matter the subject, however, his films always reflect his deep and abiding love for animals. Indeed, virtually all of his work is suffused with images of animals—real ones as well as fine-art and pop-culture representations—especially cats, owls, wolves, horses, and elephants.

CHRIS MARKER'S BESTIARY for the first time collects his short films devoted exclusively to animals.

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CAT LISTENING TO MUSIC
Marker fans are familiar with the cartoon representation of Guillaume-en-Egypte, Marker's beloved pet cat, which has become the reclusive filmmaker's alter ego. In this charming short, Marker reveals the real-life Guillaume, stretched out lazily in the filmmaker's apartment, as he listens to the lilting rhythms of a piano sonata by Federico Mompou.(2 minutes 57 seconds)

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AN OWL IS AN OWL IS AN OWL
A visit to an aviary yields a rhythmically edited series of close-ups of the rapidly rotating or intently staring feathered heads of a colorful variety of owls, accompanied by an ambient electronic soundtrack.(3 minutes 21 seconds)

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ZOO PIECE
A leisurely-paced montage of animals, many of them confined in cages or enclosures-including seals, kangaroos, leopards, gorillas, wolves, monkeys, ostriches, and a sleeping rhinoceros.
(2 minutes 47 seconds)

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BULLFIGHT IN OKINAWA
Two enormous black bulls engage in a contest of brute force, egged on by their screaming handlers, as they butt heads and lock horns in an attempt to rout their opponent.
(4 minutes 10 seconds)

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SLON TANGO
In this astonishing, sustained shot, an elephant in the Ljubjana Zoo ambles around its enclosure, performing syncopated dance steps to the accompaniment of Igor Stravinsky's "Tango." (4 minutes 9 seconds)


Animals in Chris Marker's films often function as cultural or political metaphors ("A cat is never on the side of power," Marker has explained). In this anthology of short films, however, Marker avoids the commercial cinema's tendency to anthropomorphize animals in favor of a simple celebration of their exotic beauty, primal nature and mystery.

  

5x various minutes / color
Sale: $298

This DVD is sold above with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights. It is also available for home video use, click here.

Subject areas:
Art, Cinema Studies, US & Canadian Broadcast Rights

Related Links:
The Films of Chris Marker

Related Titles:
Three Cheers for the Whale: Noted French documentarian Chris Marker chronicles the history of the whale and, in a more general manner, that of all marine mammals, in the process warning of the imminent destruction of the whale threatened by the fishing industry's ongoing slaughter.

The Case of the Grinning Cat: In his newest film, French cinema-essayist Chris Marker reflects on French and international politics, art and culture at the start of the new millennium.

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