• Unrated, 4 hr.
  • Documentary
  • Directed By:
    Chris Marker
    In Theaters:
    Nov 23, 1977 Wide
    On DVD:
    May 5, 2009
  • First Run Features

Opening

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Le Fond de l'air est rouge (A Grin Without a Cat) (The Base of the Air Is Red) Reviews

Page 1 of 2
Louis Proyect
rec.arts.movies.reviews

The greatest documentary ever made about the struggle for socialism. The real thing, I should add, rather than the epithet applied by Glenn Beck to the Democratic Party and its leader Barack Hoover.

Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews

June 18, 2010
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's not your usual political doc.

Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Original Score: A

October 15, 2009
Dan Lybarger
eFilmCritic.com

Depending on your mood and your familiarity with international politics from 30 to 40 years ago, A Grin Without a Cat can be either talky and esoteric or haunting and prophetic.

Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com | Original Score: 3.5/5

June 14, 2009
Mark R. Leeper
rec.arts.movies.reviews

It recreates the feel of the period, but in the end its obscurity undercuts its power.

Full Review | Original Score: 5/10

May 11, 2009
Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid

A Grin Without a Cat plays more like a creative mix tape than a standard hunk of journalism.

Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid

May 7, 2009
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Just to take in Grin's first few moments, a mash-up of Battleship Potemkin and police whacking May '68 protesters, is to see a mind sifting through chaos and making beautiful, critical sense of it.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 6/6

May 6, 2009
Eric Henderson
Slant Magazine

A masterpiece among masterpieces, the two-part, three-hour A Grin Without a Cat is Chris Marker's most ambitious, clear-headed string of cinematic clauses and ideological couplets, and also his most impenetrable.

Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 4/4

May 5, 2009
Paul Brenner
Filmcritic.com

massive, towering, and impassioned

Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com | Original Score: 4.5/5

May 3, 2009
Robert Roten
Laramie Movie Scope

This slapdash documentary about left wing political movements is probably best understood in the original French and was a lot more relevant in 1977 when it was first made.

Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope | Original Score: C

April 24, 2009
John Hartl
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While it regards 1967 as the key turning point of the 20th century, and returns again and again to images of dissidents in the streets, it's alarmingly current.

| Original Score: 3.5/4

January 17, 2003
Jason Anderson
eye WEEKLY

An exhaustive investigation into the roots and after-effects of the revolutions and counter-revolutions that rocked France, the U.S., China, Latin America and Czechoslovakia in 1967 and 1968.

Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY | Original Score: 3.5/5

December 2, 2002
Jonathan Curiel
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A timely look back at civil disobedience, anti-war movements and the power of strong voices.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

November 8, 2002
Jeffrey M. Anderson
San Francisco Examiner

Marker's incredible collection of newsreel footage -- TV footage from various countries, home movies and other celluloid wonders -- eventually shapes a scattered, pinwheel idea of the era's attitude.

| Original Score: 3/4

November 7, 2002
Patrick Z. McGavin
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a movie about the world at war with itself, and the result is riveting, sublime and unforgettable.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 4/4

September 26, 2002
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Although it's a bit smug and repetitive, this documentary engages your brain in a way few current films do.

Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press | Original Score: 3/4

August 29, 2002
Ed Kelleher
Film Journal International

A three-hour cinema master class.

Full Review Source: Film Journal International

June 18, 2002
Jeremy Heilman
MovieMartyr.com

Achieves a sort of filmic epiphany that revels in the true potential of the medium.

Full Review Source: MovieMartyr.com | Original Score: 3.5/4

May 6, 2002
Ken Fox
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It's always fascinating to watch Marker the essayist at work.

Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide | Original Score: 3.5/5

May 1, 2002
John Anderson
Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fierce, glaring and unforgettable.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 4/4

May 1, 2002
Dave Kehr
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A work of extraordinary journalism, but it is also a work of deft and subtle poetry.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

May 1, 2002
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