The Owl’s Legacy

(L'héritage de la chouette)
France/Greece 1989. Dir: Chris Marker. 338 min. DCP

“Glorious ... Something for the ages ... At once illuminating and confounding, heady but playful.”
J. HOBERMAN, NEW YORK TIMES

“Rejoice ... A testament to the extraordinary omnivorous mind of this defining film essayist.”
NICHOLAS ELLIOT, FILM COMMENT

NEW RESTORATION! NEWLY AVAILABLE! In what may be his most ambitious project of all, Chris Marker (Sans Soleil), cinema’s greatest documentary essayist, offers an agile, engaging, and altogether fascinating 13-part symposium on ancient Greece, its influence on Western civilization, and the way various historical eras and societies (including the Nazis) have reinterpreted Greece’s legacy according to their own needs. Marker’s signature themes were always memory and time; his favourite topics history, politics, culture, and cinema; his approach wry, irreverent, insightful, playful. He was a marvel at montage and assemblage, at unexpected juxtapositions. Each episode here is titled after a Greek-derived word — Democracy, Music, Misogyny, Tragedy, Philosophy, and so on — and provides a wide-ranging exploration of that concept in contemporary culture. Conversations (and symposia banquets) with artists, philosophers, and scholars, conducted in Athens, Berkeley, Paris, and Tbilisi, are intercut with movie clips, documentary footage, and graphics. Images of the owl, symbol of Athena, goddess of wisdom, loom large. Marker’s series, written with veteran screenwriter (and frequent Buñuel collaborator) Jean-Claude Carrière, and produced with Thierry Garrel (now a Vancouver resident), was broadcast on European television shortly after it was made, then unseen for two decades — because one of its funders, the Onassis Foundation, objected to some of the opinions expressed in it about modern Greece. The first three episodes were presented at DOXA in 2017. Now newly restored, The Owl’s Legacy screens here in its entirety.

“It is talky, pedantic, and adorable. I love it.”
CHARLIE MARKBREITER, ARTFORUM

Producer Thierry Garrel will introduce the screening on Wednesday, March 13, 6:30pm.

Thierry Garrel, a French Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and 2015 recipient of the Prix des Auteurs de la SCAM, is former Head of the Documentary and Junior Authors Division at France’s Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA). He was founder and director from 1987 to 2008 of the Documentary Film Department of La Sept and ARTE France, the European cultural channel. Since 2015, he has curated the FRENCH FRENCH section for Vancouver’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival. He and Chris Marker produced The Owl’s Legacy.

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THE OWL'S LEGACY SERIES PASS - $30!
Purchase online here

Regular Cinematheque single and double bill prices otherwise in effect for this series. Annual $3 membership required.

 

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SHOWTIMES - click links below to buy tickets

Program I (78 min.)
1: Symposium, or the Received Ideas
2: Olympics, or the Imaginary Greece
3: Democracy, or the City of Dreams

Wednesday, March 13 - 6:30 pm | Introduced by Thierry Garrel
Single Bill | Double Bill

Sunday, March 17 - 2:00 pm
Single Bill | Double Bill

Sunday, March 31 - 6:30 pm
Single Bill | Double Bill

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Program II (78 min.)
4: Nostalgia, or the Impossible Return
5: Amnesia, or the Sense of History
6: Mathematics, or the Realm of Signs

Wednesday, March 13 - 8:30 pm
Single Bill | Double Bill

Sunday, March 17 - 3:30 pm
Single Bill | Double Bill

Sunday, March 31 - 8:15 pm
Single Bill | Double Bill

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Program III (78 min.)
7: Logomachy, or the Root of Words
8: Music, or the Inner Space
9: Cosmogony, or the Ways of the World

Thursday, March 14 - 6:30 pm
Single Bill | Double Bill

Sunday, March 17 - 5:30 pm
Single Bill | Double Bill

Wednesday, April 3 - 6:30 pm
Single Bill | Double Bill

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Program IV (104 min.)
10: Mythology, or the Truth of Lies
11: Misogyny, or Desire’s Traps
12: Tragedy, or the Illusion of Death
13: Philosophy, or the Owl’s Triumph

Thursday, March 14 - 8:15 pm
Single Bill | Double Bill

Sunday, March 17 - 7:00 pm
Single Bill | Double Bill

Wednesday, April 3 - 8:15 pm
Single Bill | Double Bill

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Special The Owl’s Legacy Marathon
Sunday, March 17

All 13 episodes (presented in four programs) of Chris Marker’s ambitious exploration of the legacy of Greek thought in the modern world.

Program I - 2:00 pm
Program II - 3:30 pm
Program III - 5:30 pm
Program IV - 7:00 pm

Marathon Break Schedule: A “halftime” break of approximately 40 minutes is scheduled between Program II and III. There will be shorter breaks (each approximately 12 min.) between Programs I and II and between Programs III and IV.