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553 Ratings

Level Five

Directed by Chris Marker
France, 1997
Documentary, Romance


The French computer programmer Laura inherits the task of making a computer game of the Battle of Okinawa in Japan during World War 2. She searches the Internet for information on the battle, and interviews Japanese experts and witnesses.

Our take

The beginning of Chris Marker’s love affair with interactive technology and virtual realities,. Level Five is a fascinating and rare artifact; an intricate spider web, sometimes a video game, that astutely plays with History and its ghosts. Who’s in?

Level Five Directed by Chris Marker
…That this, yet another of Marker’s poetic testaments about attempting to process (by remembering and forgetting) the 20th century, was made when the century was almost over and when cyberspace was already making its claim on this project, must have made Marker’s mission even more urgent. But like Sans soleil, this is a film that keeps getting more contemporary every time I watch it, and in some ways it’s even more personal. (For one thing, Marker’s hands and voice are often present.)
December 19, 2014
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Level Five" was shot on video and bumped up to 35 millimeter, which is how I first saw it in competition at the 1996 Berlin Film Festival. Revisited on a monitor nearly two decades later, it’s more impressive and less overweening. The computer graphics are touchingly passé rather than irritatingly au courant; Ms. Belkhodja (an actress, an artist and then something of a TV personality) seems less archly smug than tragically chic. And the movie is also remarkably prophetic.
November 06, 2014
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Gluing it all together is the poignant presence of Belkodjha, who really gives an outstanding webcam performance, even when asked by her director to whimper to an electronic parrot. When emerging from Marker’s brainy historical exorcisms, the mere sound of Belkodjha’s expressive whisper and the look of her voluptuous lips (yeah, base impulses don’t escape me even during discursive video essays) dissolve the film into pure sensation and emotion.
September 29, 2014
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