1971-1980Chris MarkerDocumentaryFrancePerformance

Chris Marker – La solitude du chanteur de fond AKA The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Singer (1974)

In 1974, Marker made La solitude du chanteur de fond, which follows Yves Montand as he
prepares a benefit concert for Chilean refugees. That Montand had not performed live in many
years made his participation in this concert all the more significant. The portrait of Montand
is intercut with footage from films in which he starred, including Costa Gavras’s Z (1969) and
L’Aveu (1970), both filmed in Chile with the support of Allende. Montand reflects on the role
of politics in culture and on the nature of political films, themes of considerable interest
to Marker. In addition, the film includes footage smuggled out of Chile that tracks the final
days of the democratically elected government of Allende before the coup of September 11, 1973.
Chris Marker, Nora M. Alter, 2006


A finely crafted film by the unique film-poet, Chris Marker, The Loneliness Of the Long-Distance Singer
aims to convey two aspects of the actor/singer Yves Montand: his political conviction and his artistic
integrity. In February 1974, Montand agreed to prepare in one week a performance of some of his best-known
songs for the benefit of the Chilean refugees after Allende’s overthrow. In this remarkable film, we
see the anxious tension, the moments of relaxation, everything which went into his polished appearance
on the stage at the Olympia in Paris. The skillful cuts back and forth between the final performance
and the rehearsals the week before allow us to see how carefully the show is put together by Montand.
He tests every gesture, goes over and over every rhythm change. His accompanist and friend, Bob Castella,
emerges as a warm, appealing personality, who in one excellent scene must stand up to Montand’s explosive
anger when there is a discrepancy between the music and the words. As we continue to be entertained by
Montand’s virtuoso singing, we are led by Chris Marker into a deeper understanding of the man. Montand
talks about politics, about women; we get film clips from some of his best roles (La Guerre Est Finie,
Z, The Confession, and so on). In the end, we understand Montand when he says: “I sing today so that we
don’t forget the blood of yesterday.”

789MB | 59:32.200 | 640 x 480 | avi




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