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The Case of the Grinning Cat


Images courtesy First Run/Icarus Films

The Case of the Grinning Cat
Chris Marker, 2004

New Documentary

Nonfiction filmmaking holds a strong appeal for many committed directors and producers. This ongoing series lets you sample wide-ranging approaches to the contemporary documentary.

Thu, Sep 21, 2006 7 PM
Fri, Sep 22, 2006 7 PM

"Chronicles the absurd, enlightening details within the unpredictable and passionate world of French political protest."--SEATTLE FILM FESTIVAL

Legendary French filmmaker Chris Marker follows Parisians and a graffiti cat into political demonstrations and the city's streets.

Starting in the wake of September 11, 2001, Chris Marker's The Case of the Grinning Cat (Chats perches) is a deceptively casual look at the events that brought Parisians into the streets over the next three years--political gatherings, public protests, even funerals. The tone is characteristically Marker's: light of touch and speculative, drawing out meaning from what’s usually overlooked.

Here, Marker's inquiry is framed by his delight at the mysterious eruption of a grinning cat drawn on the roofs of Paris by an anonymous graffiti artist. Over time, the beguiling "Monsieur le Chat" appears in student demonstrations and even on national television--a happy apparition that provides another alter ego for the famously elusive director.

Globalization, immigration, the war in Iraq, workers and students standing up for their rights: the events Marker documents in this film remain those of the present. In 2007 the Wexner Center will exhibit Marker's latest photo project, a suite of resonant still images drawn from the massive student protests spreading over France this past spring. An informal epilogue to The Case of the Grinning Cat, the photos confirm Marker as a witness without peer to the struggle between hope and despair in the course of human events. (58 mins., video)

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