Frank Lloyd and Chris Marker’s Time Machines

Via GreenCine Daily: Harlan D. Whatley’s of Catherine Lupton’s biography of one of my favorite filmmakers, Chris Marker: Memories of the Future. In fact, long-time readers may know that I once published an essay on Marker’s Sans Soleil back in the day. David also points to the silverthreaded website, where you can find lots of cool stuff on Marker, including this Andrei Tarkovsky comment about cinema and time travel.

Speaking of time travel, I finally had a chance to watch Berkeley Square, the 1933 time-travel film I’ve been mentioning. I can see why Andre Breton, among others, admired it so much. The story eventually inspired the film Somewhere in Time, and the two stories are fairly similar. In Berkeley Square, the main character, Peter Standish (Leslie Howard), longs to travel to what he believes will be the far more civilized 18th century, confining himself into an old 18th century mansion in order to send himself back in time. He wakes up in the 18th century, where he violates many of the principles of time travel (don’t change anything, etc). Peter’s modern mannerisms offend all of his 18th century ancestors, except Helen, who has an intuitive understanding of Peter’s ability to travel in time.

In one scene, in fact, Helen has a “vision” of the future, with images of rushing automobiles, the brightly-lit streets of Broadway, and the mechanical warfare of World War I superimposed on her face in what is essentially a flashforward to the present. It’s a weird little scene, one that I’ll be revisiting frequently when I start revising my chapter on early time-travel films.

2 Comments »

  1. Daniel Said,

    September 9, 2007 @ 10:27 am

    The Marker site by silverthreaded is now here:
    http://www.vajramedia.com/Passagen/cm.home2.html
    The Tarkovsky quote is here:
    http://www.vajramedia.com/Passagen/timetravel.html

    I was glad to learn this morning from your blog about Jem Cohen’s film. Have you seen his film “Lost Book Found”? Another great essay film.

  2. Chuck Said,

    September 9, 2007 @ 10:53 am

    Hi Daniel. Thanks for the updated links. I haven’t had the opportunity to see Lost Book Found but would love to see it someday.

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