Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory

The Heat of 1000 Suns

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sun without sun sunless

In celebration of the collective hope that many felt today as we came to learn that our nefarious, narcissistic, lying and self-absorbed President was finally to be sent packing, I worked on a page that assembles 50  posts at a time, with another 50  upon refresh, using the superpowers of Elementor, the rising star in WordPress page builders. So please navigate to All Posts and you may find something of interest that has previously eluded you, as there are many notes, musings, Info packets, thoughtstreams, and perhaps some gemstones even buried in the geologic strata of this site, constructed from 2008 to 2020… As the posts accumulate, the page will grow automatically over time, like a rhizome network or an ant colony.

Le bruleur de mille soleils by Peter Kast - Chris Marker editor
La brûlure de mille soleils | The Heat of 1000 Suns

My gratitude goes out on this monumental day not least to Quentin Darcq—aka Atlas Kabalan (@atlas123c)—for alerting me to an amazing find of a previously either unknown or certainly under-known science-fiction film that Chris Marker had a hand in— Pierre Kast’s La Brûlure de mille soleils from 1965. Marker is credited as the editor (“monté par Chris Marker”). Anatole Dauman was the producer. The film, made just a couple of years after La Jetée, is available for viewing on ubu.com. The summary states: “In the far future a young man, bored by his surroundings, blasts off into space with only his cat and some robots for company. On a distant planet, he discovers a serene, tranquil culture and falls in love with a girl. The story follows his problems adjusting to their sociological standards and customs where family units are comprised of sexual groups of eight people.”

I did subsequently find a listing for the film on imdb.com, with the English translation given as “The Heat of a Thousand Suns.” The music is by Bernard Parmegiani. The cast includes Barbara Aptekman, Nicole Karen, Ursula Kubler, Barbara Laage, Deborah Romano, Alexandra Stewart (!), and Pierre Vaneck. Along with Dauman as Executive Producer, Clara D’Ovar is credited as Producer. Cinematography is by Willy Kurant and Jacques Maillet. Jenny Pollet is listed as Assistant Director.

Without giving away anything of the plot, I will only say that the title sequence is charming, with a kind of steampunk animation of an odd machine going on in the left of the screen, and a small cat hanging out in the bottom right. Would we be surprised if the cat that goes to space was facilitated by a nudge from Marker? Certainly not; it’s must-have, not a nice-to-have, in his ciné-universe. I seem to recall that there are cats in some of the early sci-fi of Larry Niven. Yes, the Kzin! But they are not like Marker’s cats; let’s leave it at that. 

Folks who saw the tweet about this today, the day the election was announced, seem excited, as I am, to dive into this strange and unexpected trouvaille.

Update

Quentin D wrote to me and provided additional context to the appearance of La Brûleur des mille soleils at ubu.com:

The whole story about "La Brûlure des mille soleils" is that I first found the film on Youtube and I absolutely wanted it to be preserved and not removed. Last April or May, I sent a tweet to the Ubu Web creator, Kenneth Goldsmith to ask him if he could hosted the film by himself and he saved the film on Ubu.com.

Quentin Darcq

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Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory

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