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A Grin Without a Cat

Che Guevara , Fidel Castro , Chris Marker  |  NR |  DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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A Grin Without a Cat + La Jetée / Sans Soleil (The Criterion Collection) + Remembrance of Things to Come
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Product Details

  • Actors: Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Salvador Allende, Regis Debray
  • Directors: Chris Marker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English, French, German
  • Subtitles: Portuguese, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, German
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Icarus Films
  • DVD Release Date: May 5, 2009
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,818 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Grin Without a Cat" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


One of the most towering and extraordinary films to grace the screen! Staggering in its depth and scope… An event of major importance. --Phil Hall, Film Threat

Monumental! Fierce, glaring and unforgettable! --John Anderson, Newsday

Magnificent. The energy and optimism and tragedy of decades of political activism are rendered with that mental restlessness and ingenious pathos typical of Marker's great films. --Susan Sontag

Product Description

A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT (its title refers to Lewis Carroll's Cheshire Cat) is Marker's magnum opus: a three-hour overview of the worldwide political upheavals during the Sixties and Seventies.

Marker interweaves footage from the Vietnam War and the antiwar protests in the U.S., May '68 in Paris, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Salvador Allende and the coup in Chile, Che Guevara and Régis Debray in Bolivia, the Shah of Iran, Fidel Castro, et alia.

Official images, film clips, news coverage trims and neglected reels comprise the basic materials of this major fresco, which concludes with the following credit: "The true authors of this film are the countless cameramen, technical operators, witnesses and activists whose work is constantly pitted against that of governments, who would like us to have no memory."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great film at last on dvd! May 30, 2009
Readers who already know Chris Marker well should be very happy to see this essential film on home dvd at last--and will add it to their libraries immediately. Other readers may know this singular artist through his better known films LA JETEE (the basis of Terry Gilliam's great movie 12 MONKEYS) or SANS SOLEIL. GRIN is much longer and much more historically focused. That said, it is a spectacular documentary by a great artist so what can you say but... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Many of Marker's films are documentary memoirs of and philosophical reflections on the radical left's political dreams of the 20th century in the form of refined and at times explosive film-essays. Although certain critics argue otherwise, these are not propaganda or one-dimensional films in that Marker's own political position is obscured through layers of regret, anger, and irony. His is the elegant voice of the revolution's unhappy consciousness. If he wasn't so attached to cats, one might want to call Marker the owl of Minerva. He is often reflecting on the history of revolutionary propaganda and campaigns from a position of sorrow that nothing goes according to plan, not in this vicinity at least.

So, this is a three-hour film essay and careful argument about the rise and fall of the international New Left in the 1960s and 1970s and its later aftermath. Formally, much of it seems to be found news footage, with additional voice-overs, and spare use of music. The film focuses on political and social developments in Marker's home country of France, but follows the "revolution within the revolution" elsewhere as well. Marker uses Regis Debray's New Left phrase to feed his melancholic argument about a revolutionary "grin without a cat.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars almost unreviewable May 20, 2009
This is, simultaneously, the best movie I've ever seen and almost totally unwatchable. I know, a complete paradox, I apologize. The first 45 minutes or hour or so are engrossing, then it goes back and forth between being crushingly dull and back to engrossing. It's some kind of work of genius, rent it, watch it, don't get mad at yourself for falling asleep twice, you might emerge thinking that, in spite of all that, it's the best thing you've ever seen.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grin Without A Cat February 7, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Lengthy but fascinating look of the political turmoil and drama of the 1960's and into the 1970's. Some very moving scenes for those of us who were around in those days and maybe a pang of regret not to have been active (or more aware and involved) in those events in the United States. The title is somewhat obscure and the cover photo on the DVD makes no sense to me at all. I recommend it in the same way that I would recommend the documentary The Battle of Chile.
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