Le Fond de l'air est rouge (A Grin Without a Cat) (The Base of the Air Is Red)
Want to See
Not Interested
Rate it ½ star
Rate it 1 star
Rate it 1½ stars
Rate it 2 stars
Rate it 2½ stars
Rate it 3 stars
Rate it 3½ stars
Rate it 4 stars
Rate it 4½ stars
Rate it 5 stars
Le Fond de l'air est rouge (A Grin Without a Cat) (The Base of the Air Is Red)
Chris Marker's remarkable documentary about the rise and fall of the New Left in the 1960s and 1970s was originally released in 1977, but was reworked in 1993 in the wake of the Cold War's end and the collapse of the Soviet Union. A Grin Without a Cat (the idiomatic French title, Le Fond de l'Air Est Rouge, can be literally translated as "The Essence of the Air is Red") is divided into two parts. The first part, called "Fragile Hands," focuses on the emergence of leftist movements circa 1967, the Vietnam War serving as the lightning rod for radicals of all… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Just to take in Grin's first few moments, a mash-up of Battleship Potemkin and police whacking May '68 protesters, is to see a mind sifting through chaos and making beautiful, critical sense of it."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"This is a movie about the world at war with itself, and the result is riveting, sublime and unforgettable."
‑ Patrick Z. McGavin, Chicago Tribune
"The greatest documentary ever made about the struggle for socialism. The real thing, I should add, rather than the epithet applied by Glenn Beck to the Democratic Party and its leader Barack Hoover."
‑ Louis Proyect, rec.arts.movies.reviews
"It recreates the feel of the period, but in the end its obscurity undercuts its power."
‑ Mark R. Leeper, rec.arts.movies.reviews
"massive, towering, and impassioned"
‑ Paul Brenner, Filmcritic.com
"While it regards 1967 as the key turning point of the 20th century, and returns again and again to images of dissidents in the streets, it's alarmingly current."
‑ John Hartl, Seattle Times
"Fierce, glaring and unforgettable."
‑ John Anderson, Newsday
"It's not your usual political doc."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"A Grin Without a Cat plays more like a creative mix tape than a standard hunk of journalism."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"This slapdash documentary about left wing political movements is probably best understood in the original French and was a lot more relevant in 1977 when it was first made."
‑ Robert Roten, Laramie Movie Scope
"A timely look back at civil disobedience, anti-war movements and the power of strong voices."
‑ Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle
"A work of extraordinary journalism, but it is also a work of deft and subtle poetry."
‑ Dave Kehr, New York Times
"Depending on your mood and your familiarity with international politics from 30 to 40 years ago, A Grin Without a Cat can be either talky and esoteric or haunting and prophetic."
‑ Dan Lybarger, eFilmCritic.com
"A masterpiece among masterpieces, the two-part, three-hour A Grin Without a Cat is Chris Marker's most ambitious, clear-headed string of cinematic clauses and ideological couplets, and also his most impenetrable."
‑ Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
"An exhaustive investigation into the roots and after-effects of the revolutions and counter-revolutions that rocked France, the U.S., China, Latin America and Czechoslovakia in 1967 and 1968."
‑ Jason Anderson, eye WEEKLY