Le Fond de l'air est rouge (A Grin Without a Cat) (The Base of the Air Is Red) (1977)

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

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


Movie Info

Chris Marker's remarkable documentary about the rise and fall of the New Left in the 1960s and 1970s was originally released in 1977, but was reworked in 1993 in the wake of the Cold War's end and the collapse of the Soviet Union. A Grin Without a Cat (the idiomatic French title, Le Fond de l'Air Est Rouge, can be literally translated as "The Essence of the Air is Red") is divided into two parts. The first part, called "Fragile Hands," focuses on the emergence of leftist movements circa 1967, … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 5, 2009
Runtime:
First Run Features - Official Site

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

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (8)

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… | May 6, 2009
Time Out
Top 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.

January 17, 2003
Seattle Times
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | November 8, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | September 26, 2002
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Fierce, glaring and unforgettable.

Full Review… | May 1, 2002
Newsday
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | May 1, 2002
New York Times
Top Critic

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

½

One of Marker's most ambitious films. At the end of his 'militant phase' Marker wanted to make a film made entirely from found footage, and this results in an extremely dense work exploring the rise and fall the new leftist movement throughout the world during the late 60's to 70's. While a lot of the footage is of the talking heads variety, they are edited in an associative collage form that doesn't cohere to a set message or idea but instead form a sort of dialogue that examines the events shown in relation to similar events during that period of time. I found this much harder to get into than Marker's other films because there is so much history and politics that I'm not familiar with. While there are some of Marker's humor and wry commentary, the long passages of talking heads does make a lot of the film quite dry. This was his last feature before Sans Soleil, and the use of color tinting hints to digital image manipulations in 'The Zone'.

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