First edition. 8vo., [80pp], numerous b&w plates, in grey boards with illustrated dust jacket. Paris, Éditions Herscher, 1982.
Dust jacket a little yellowed at edges. A very good copy.
Chris Marker’s book of photos and texts devoted to Japan, published in the year before the release of his experimental essay film Sans Soleil. This book could almost be seen as a trailer for the film. Marker had visited Japan for extended periods since filming the olympics there in 1965. This series of photographs show street life intertwined with ritual and ceremony - sleeping faces on the subway, worshippers at street shrines, dancers at public festivals, cats and totems. The attention and quickness of the filmmakers’ eye inevitably invites comparison to collaborator William Klein and perhaps also to Daido Moriyama, since the majority of these portraits are shot in the Tokyo district of Shinjuku. Marker’s account of his favourite neighbourhood with its small bars and cat temples are just one instance of a seamless move between text and image, making the location appear warmly familiar: ‘Others tonight may be drinking at the death of kings, at the death of empires. We in Shinjuku are drinking cats and owls. What could be more natural?’ A scarce and very special item.