LEVEL FIVE / LEVEL FIVE

SYNOPSIS
As with nearly every film made by the incomparable Chris Marker, the
brilliant Level Five (1997) is unclassifiable. Equal parts essay, love story,
and sci-fi fantasy, Level Five is, in one sense, the “diary” of a woman
named Laura (Catherine Belkhodja), who recounts the completion of a
video game based on the Battle of Okinawa that was begun by her now
deceased lover. Incorporating footage of present-day Okinawa (and other
locations in Japan) along with faded, haunting archival material of the
ravaged city during World War II, the film is a piercing meditation on both
the historical recuperation of atrocities and what the mournful narrator
(Marker himself) calls “the ethics of imagery.” The computer terminals
that Laura—her moniker explicitly evoking Otto Preminger’s ghostly
1944 film noir of the same name—frequently addresses throughout the
film serve as passageways to both the past and the future, which jostle
uneasily with the present. Made in the final years of the millennium,
Level Five notably—and presciently—strikes a note of despair about
the uses and abuses of cyberspace, then still in its infancy.

“Passionate and cerebral; there is nothing else in theaters now that feels quite as
new.”

—A. O. Scott, The New York Times

DIRECTOR
Chris Marker

SCREENPLAY
Chris Marker

CAST
Catherine Belkhodja

GENRE Experimental
LANGUAGE French
RUNNING TIME 106’
PRODUCTION France, 1996
FORMAT(S) Digibeta, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
Icarus Films