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France, 1996 (MIFF 1997, International)

Director: Chris Marker

In his new film, Chris Marker continues to explore the ways in which new technologies can inform our comprehension of traumatic his­torical events. Like his earlier film Sans Solei,. Level Five meditates on aspects of the Japanese psyche, focusing particularly on the nation's collec­tive amnesia concerning WWII. A French woman, Laura, grieving over the death of her lover attempts to finish writing a multimedia video game he created about the battle of Okinawa.

Unable to manipulate the course of the battle through strategic play of the game, she tries to come to grips with its terrible outcome by intro­ducing the testimonies of witnesses and infor­mants. Their accounts highlight a tragedy that has been erased from the official history of the battle - the mass suicides of civilian Okinawans that preceded the Japanese defeat. Interspersed between these testimonies is footage gathered by Laura's 'ace editor' friend, Chris. Present in voice only, he ruminates on the way mass media images function as a poorly recalled memory of war. Perhaps WWII will remain an event that, "Can neither be forgotten nor adequately remembered," until we attain, "Level Five".

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