Les Marines. 1957. France. Directed by François Reichenbach. Screenplay by Reichenbach, François Chalais, Guillaume Hanoteau. In French; English subtitles. 22 min.
Filmed in a Marines training barracks on Parris Island with military authorization, this documentary follows the first weeks of young recruits by refusing to adopt a simplistic position of for or against. The framing, editing, commentary, and, especially, music are all penetrating and interrogative in considering the molding of elite soldiers. Digital restoration courtesy Les Films de Jeudi
Moranbong (Moranbong, une aventure coréenne). 1960. France. Written and directed by Claude-Jean Bonnardot. With Bonnardot, Si Mieun, Om Kil-son, Won Deung-hee. 35mm. In French; English subtitles. 84 min.
Banned in France at the time of its release, this film was born of a historic trip to North Korea in 1958 in which Chris Marker, Claude Lanzmann, and Armand Gatti also participated. Apparently honoring a request by Mao Zedong, Gatti wrote a pastoral inspired by a traditional Korean Opera—a “pansori” called The Faithful Chunyang —that is also clearly critical of the devastation wrought by US and UN forces during the Korean War. The difficult shooting conditions contributed to the invention of an original and modern filmic language marked by documentary aspects and telling ellipses. Courtesy CNC