The Koumiko Mystery (Marker, 1967)

The Koumiko Mystery (Chris Marker, 1967)

It had been a while since I’d seen a Chris Marker film, and I was kind of down on him after being disappointed with The Case of the Grinning Cat, but I’d heard good things about The Koumiko Mystery, and figured I’d give it a try. To quickly sum it up, it was a poetic docu-essay/interview/hang out session. Basically, Marker meets a girl at the Olympic Games who he sees as a true representation of a Japanese woman. They basically hang out and talk about whatever, Marker always behind the camera, Koumiko always in front. The quality of the version I saw was pretty bad, but I think it’s all that is available. Regardless, it was obvious the film was beautifully shot. Marker lingers on Koumiko’s face, uses shadow, natural light pouring through windows, and soft camera movements to beautifully capture a woman and a culture all in one. She has many things to say, and though her thoughts sound profound and intelligent, they never sound pretentious or fake. I enjoyed spending 45 minutes with Marker and Koumiko.  8.5/10

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