“Who said that time heals all wounds?” that disembodied voice in Sans Soleil questions. “It would be better to say that time heals everything—except wounds. With time, the hurt of separation loses its real limits. With time, the desired body will soon disappear, and if the desiring body has already ceased to exist for the other, then what remains is a wound…disembodied.”
The wounds stay—their scars are our memories. This is Marker’s predominant metaphor for memory: the cicatrix.
“Nothing tells memories from ordinary moments,” the voiceover in La Jetée warns us. “Only afterwards do they claim remembrance on account of their scars.” That film even describes itself as “the story of a man marked by an image.” (It’s a description that could, not coincidentally, also describe Sans Soleil.) Marker sees memory as the marks left upon us.