MARKER (Chris).
[Loin du Vietnam/ Far from Vietnam]

Original press kit/ limited edition supplement. Oblong 8vo., illustrated brochure, [8pp.] in stapled wraps outlining film production credits and brief synopsis together with 14 loose full bleed b&w photographic prints from the film (each 220 x 160mm) in a four-fold wrapper (230 x 165mm) of heavy card with a statement by Jean Lacouture on the inner flap and a small portrait of a Vietnamese woman in b&w. Edition size unknown. English/ French text. [Paris], Maïmé Arnodin / S.L.O.N, [c. 1967]. 

Wrapper somewhat scratched with two edges torn along the fold. Brochure is lightly rubbed with rusted staples. The enclosed photographs are in good, crisp condition. No copies can be found listed in the Cinémathèque Française or amongst the Berkeley Pacific Film Archives who hold extensive material relating to this production. 

Scarce supplement advertising the protest film Loin du Vietnam, made by prominent New Wave Directors in the midst of the Vietnam war. The production list includes Jean-Luc Godard, William Klein, Alain Resnais, Agnes Varda and Claude Lelouch. Enclosed in the supplement are a press brochure illustrated with scenes from US protests documented by William Klein together with 14 loose photo-prints showing stills from the film, these include; a portrait of Fedel Castro, a shot of Jean-Luc Godard behind the camera and an image of a cluster bomb, nicknamed a ‘guava’, being defused. The items are housed in a folded wrapper of heavy card entirely devoid of text with a small portrait of a Vietnamese woman printed at its centre. The supplement bears a discreet logo of Maïmé Arnodin, an exclusive Parisian agency and tastemaker for fashion and design who pioneered ready-to-wear in the press. This was likely to have been one of the first campaigns for the agency that became established as Maïmé Arnodin Fayolle International Associates in 1968. 

This is an object that feels closer to a fine art edition than a promotional tool; its design language is deliberately understated - the image of a Vietnamese woman stands alone, requiring no titles. The absence of typical marketing-speak here demonstrates the independence of the production, with the Directors themselves taking control of the distribution. In order to realise the film, Chris Marker had established a new cooperative, SLON (the “Company for the Launching of New Works”), that would be devoted to making politically conscious cinema. In-keeping with this philosophy, Marker chose to give the premiere screening of Loin du Vietnam to a group of striking factory workers in Besançon. 

The materials enclosed in the supplement convey the unprecedented nature of this collaboration between Directors, ‘all told 150 persons participated in the making.’ Loin du Vietnam was laid out in eleven chapters edited and narrated by Chris Marker, combining footage shot in North and South Vietnam as well as interviews with Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh and Anne Morrison, widow of the Quaker pacifist who burned himself alive in front of the Pentagon in 1965. This is a remarkable item capturing a milestone in the history of cinema.  

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