Montage as Resonance: Chris Marker and the Dialectical Image

Shortly into the second part of Chris Marker’s epic 1977 compilation film Le Fond de l’air est rouge, one of the great acts of montage in the history of the cinema takes place. After presenting us with a prolonged sequence shifting from newsreel footage of Soviet tanks freeing Prague from Nazi occupation in 1945 to the same tanks returning to the city 24 years later, this time not to liberate the city, but to crush the political aspirations unleashed by the Prague Spring, Marker homes in on an emblematic scene from this event. Czech citizens and news crews huddle around a callow Red Army soldier as he emerges from a tank, and implore him not to acquiesce in the invasion. Invoking an innate sense of solidarity from the youth, stupefied by the attention he has suddenly been given, the Czechs attempt to pierce through the shroud of incomprehension by calling out to him in the few words of Russian they know – from within the crowd, cries of “Comrade! Brother!” can be heard.

Read Full Piece on Sense of Cinema website.

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