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Le mystère Koumiko

France, 1965 (MIFF 1968, Programme E)

Director: Chris Marker

Chris Marker whose films, Description of a Struggle, Le joli Mai and La jetee, have been shown at previous Festivals, went to Japan to film the Olympic Games. But there he discovered, working for a film office in Tokyo, a beautiful young Japanese girl called Koumiko. The result is that the Games take up only a few minutes of the film. The rest is Marker's discovery of Japan through Koumiko's eyes—a dialogue between East and West in which we find that Cherbourg is not the only home for umbrellas, that Japan is both very much as we imagine it, and yet totally different.

In this latest instalment in the saga of Marker's one-man total cinema, the camera rides on a formidable modern rail system, or lingers over a poster. It is not a travelogue, but a travel essay; nobody's last word on Japan, but very much somebody's first.

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