The Owl's Legacy

Chris Marker’s epic series The Owl’s Legacy (1989) is neither a deeply ‘auterist’ work nor a brilliant piece of Cinema. It is, plainly, the documentation of a thirteen-part symposium on Ancient Greece enabled by the Onassis Foundation and conceptualized by Marker. However, the amount of ground it covers and the number of new directions it opens up for us to think about contemporary politics, science, culture, law, economy and art (specifically, cinema) makes it one of the richest works of criticism that I’ve come across. It is extremely unfortunate, then, that it is neither available on video officially in any form nor spoken about really widely. Following a slew of earnest mails (OK, two mails) asking me if there was any site where the film can be viewed online with English subtitles, I decided to upload the copy I have of the entire series. Of course, all credits go to the original uploader who floated TV rip on the internet. It is because of people like her/him that the Internet has turned out to be the greatest repository of culture, globally.

[Note: There is no monetary interest for me in this endeavor and if you feel that the series shouldn’t be put online the way I have here, please drop a note in the comments section]


1. Symposium, or Accepted Ideas


2. Olympics, or Imaginary Greece


3. Democracy, or the City of Dreams


4. Nostalgia, or the Impossible Return


5. Amnesia, or History on the March


6. Mathematics, or the Empire Counts Back


7. Logomachy, or the Dialect of the Tribe


8. Music, or Inner Space


9. Cosmogony, or the Ways of the World


10. Mythology, or Lies like Truth


11. Misogyny, or the Snares of Desire


12. Tragedy, or the Illusion of Death


13. Philosophy, or the Triumph of the Owl