English audio (Alexandra Stewart)
REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS TO COME, the latest “cine-essay” of Chris Marker, is dense and demanding, a splendid reminder that his nimble, capacious mind has lost none of its agility, poetry, and power. Ostensibly a portrait of photographer Denise Bellon, focusing on the two decades between 1935 and 1955, the film leaps and backtracks, Marker-style, from subject to subject, from a family portrait of Bellon and her two daughters, Loleh and Yannick (the latter co-authored the film), to a wide-ranging history of surrealism, of the city of Paris, of French cinema and the birth of the cinémathèque, of Europe, the National Front, the Second World War and Spanish Civil War, and postwar politics and culture.
Chris Marker, filmmaker, poet, novelist, photographer, editor, and now videographer and digital multimedia artist, has been challenging moviegoers, philosophers, and himself for years with his complex queries about time, memory, and the rapid advancement of life on this planet. Sans Soleil is his mind-bending free-form travelogue that journeys from Africa to Japan.
Plot Summary :
This appreciation of Tarkovsky made by his friend Chris Marker for the French television series ‘Cinema du Notre Temps’ is both an illuminating personal portrait and a poetic study of the Russian master’s films. Granted access to the set of ‘The Sacrifice’ Marker captured fascinating and insightful behind-the-scenes footage, including the editing process which the then gravely ill Tarkovsky conducted from his sickbed. Continue reading
Pictures at an Exhibition by Chris Marker. Its title, like Sans Soleil, is taken from a piece by Modest Mussorgsky. Continue reading
Setting out to create an evocative portrait of his beloved hometown of Paris and to “track it like a detective with a telescope and a microphone,” Chris Marker’s astounding and astute film LE JOLI MAI emerges as an early example of Marker’s unique cinema of poetic cultural anthropology. Filmed in May 1962, just as the Algerian war had come to an end, LE JOLI MAI sees a crew of interviewers and cameramen fanning out across Paris interviewing a compelling cross section of city dwellers on life, love, money, happiness, work, war, and peace. From a poverty stricken mother of seven who just received a government-financed flat, to outspoken teenage students at the stock exchange, Marker’s interviewees respond to his deceptively simple questions with statements that encapsulate the complex, troubled, and exciting society of 1962 Paris during a period of psychological and social turmoil. Marker’s highly subjective documentary style matches eloquent narration with illustrative montage. The film’s visual and verbal wit matches the stark reality of its documentary footage with philosophical musings (voiced beautifully by narrator Simone Signoret). LE JOLI MAI faithfully captures Marker’s sociopolitical vision of Paris, and it foreshadows the unrest that would erupt less than a decade later in the revolts of May 1968. Continue reading
Review (taken from Turner Classic Movies)
“This is the story of a man marked by an image of his childhood,” begins La Jetee (1962), one of the most instantly recognizable and acclaimed short films ever made. Using only still photographs, voiceover narration, sound effects and music, it tells the story of a World War III survivor whose vivid memories make him the subject of time travel experiments. In only one shot of the film–that of “the Woman” opening her eyes in the morning–does the image move. Through such deceptively simple means Chris Marker explores the paradoxes of time travel and, on a deeper philosophical level, the relationships between image and memory, and word and image. Continue reading