- Chris Marker
The late French cine-essayist Chris Marker reflects on French and international politics, art and culture at the start of the 21st century and links his peregrinations by tracing the mysterious appearances of a cartoonish grinning cat throughout the streets of Paris in this witty and thought-provoking piece. The film chronicles strikes, demonstrations, memorials, election campaigns, celebrity scandals, international political incidents, and a seemingly endless variety of political protests (against the Iraq War, against China’s occupation of Tibet, against the government’s ban on the wearing of Musilim headscarves). The ubiquitous grinning cat eventually begins to appear amidst the banners at the political demonstrations, echoing the May ‘68 slogan that “La poésie est dans la rue” (”Poetry is in the street”). Shown with Chris Marker’s Bestiary: Five Short Films About Animals (18 minutes), including “Cat Listening to Music.” Marker fans are familiar with the cartoon representation of Guillaume-en-Egypte, Marker's beloved pet cat, which became 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.