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Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil is a free-form style travel diary told through the letters of a fictional cameraman Sandor Krasna. A woman, Alexandra Stewart, who remains unseen throughout the entire film, reads these letters. The film explores themes of time, memory, and history. In the essay “In Search of the Centaur: The Essay Film” author Phillip Lopate defines five characteristics he believes a film must have in order to be considered an essay film (245-7). It can be argued that Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil is an essay film based on most if not all of Lopate’s defining characteristics.
The first characteristic that Lopate defines is, “An essay-film must have words in the form of a text either spoken, subtitled, or intertitled” (245). The text in Sans Soleil is in the form of letters from the fictional cameraman, Sandor Krasna. Lopate argues that an “utterly pure, silent flow of images” cannot be considered essayistic (245). In the case of Sans Soleil the images alone would not be essayistic because you would not have an understanding of them. The text of the film could not stand-alon…