Sog.: da un’idea di Jean-Claude Carrière. Scen.: Chris Marker. Int.: André Dussollier (voce narrante). DCP. Col. Versione francese con sottotitoli inglesi / French version with English subtitlesDa: Cinémathèque française
Episodio 1: Symposium ou les idées reçues
Interviste a: Jean-Pierre Vernant, François Lissarrague, Viatcheslav Ivanov, Marios Ploritis, Mark Griffith, John Winkler, David Halperin, Nancy Laughlin, Michael Nagler, Michel Jobert, Lee Kaminski, Iannis Xenakis, Manuela Smith, Cornelius Castoriadis, George Steiner. D.:26’
Episodio 2: Olympisme ou la Grèce imaginaire D.:26’
Episodio 3: Démocratie ou la cité des songes
Interviste a: Elia Kazan, Mihalis Sakellariou, Cornelius Castoriadis, Oswyn Murray, Angélique Ionatos, Michel Jobert, John Winkler, Evi Touloupa. D.:26’
This project was rooted in a very clear concept, which was to explore the shadow of Ancient Greece in modern society, with a view to offering a complete overview. This was a Rossellini-like project destined to take in science, art, politics, anthropology, history. […]
In the Sixties and Seventies, Marker was kept very busy with the business of counter-information, counter-reportage… Now he came to television. He did so methodically and thoroughly, offering 26 minutes episodes, each one constructed around one of twelve keywords – except that he ended up giving us a baker’s dozen of thirteen, like any good baker.[…]
The work was witty, especially the introductions and links. Television is not usually witty. Marker sprinkled film-references freely, inventively and metaphorically within each episode, as well as picture and sound archive. He also displayed an unexpected sense of serialization. It was absolutely brilliant.
The shape of the work was really found in the cutting-room. But the major conceptual decision and, if one considers, the most surprising one, came with the face-to-face interviews. […] Marker spent two years on these, recording interviews round the world through 1987 and 1988.
Chris Marker wanted to make this film. The Onassis Foundation paid for it. Chris brought philosophers, writers, logicians, politicians, artists before the camera to discuss imagination and imaginary worlds, music, inner space, mathematics, sense of history, misogyny, entanglements of desire, truth in lies, nostalgia and received ideas over thirteen episodes, not to mention the Athens of Athenians and the owl, symbol of wisdom and of the polis. To say that this made for fascinating filmmaking is to state the obvious. To say that an unfortunately convoluted production history kept the work confidential is a sad truth. But the reasons for its not finding an audience have nothing to do with its main theme, which is wisdom and freedom.
Coming to its senses, the Onassis Foundation has wisely agreed to hand Chris Marker’s film, L’Heritage de la Chouette, over to the Cinémathèque française. And the Cinémathèque is making it available to audiences, as it must, since its very raison d’être is to show. Showing this film is also a means of expressing the Cinémathèque’s enthusiastic admiration for Chris Marker, as a person and as a filmmaker.