Category Archives: Amitié

France Culture Podcasts – Conversations on Chris Marker

We have been following with appreciation the podcasts of France Culture on the occasion of the phenomenal Sept Vies d’un Cinéaste exhibition/retrospective, conversations that touch on Chris Marker’s life, friendships and wisdom in a way that the written word has a harder time achieving – the Costa-Gavras conversation is exemplary in this regard. There is an intimacy to the spoken voice that comes through vividly, and the questions posed by Albane Penaranda are always on target.

To state the obvious: all France Culture podcasts in the Chris Marker series are in French, and rapid spoken French at that. Repeat listenings are recommended. We thank France Culture for allowing the exporting of iframe audio player code, so these podcasts can be shared on the web. All quotations below are copyright © France Culture and taken from the articles that accompany the podcasts, at www.franceculture.fr under the rubrique Les Nuits de France Culture.

These valuable supplements to the current exhibition put us in proximity with the co-creators of the exhibition / retrospective, Christine van Assche and Raymond Bellour, with the young Marker himself – like Benjamin, making early forays into radio as yet another medium of expression – and with his close friend and fellow cineaste Costa-Gavras. The three van Assche & Bellour episodes demonstrate their deep familiarity with and lucid insight into Marker’s work, the awe they hold it in, as well as the enormity of the Marker archive at their/our disposal now at the Cinémathèque française.

Qui était Chris Marker

En décembre 2012, pour “Une vie, une œuvre”, Virginie Bloch-Lainé rassemblait les morceaux du puzzle Marker. Ecrits, photographies, films, vidéos, dessins et mondes virtuels l’univers de Chris Marker était raconté par Claude Lanzmann, Régis Debray, Raymond Bellour, parmi d’autres.

Arles 2011 Chris Marker exposition - Photo Gérard Julien, afp

“Jusqu’à la fin des temps”, un essai radiophonique de Chris Marker

L’écriture, plus que l’image, a occupé les premières années du parcours de Chris Marker. À la revue Esprit notamment, dans laquelle il publia de nombreux articles entre 1947 et 1955. Il y eut aussi la poésie, un roman, Le cœur net, en 49, et en 52 un essai sur Jean Giraudoux. Tout naturellement, le texte, l’écriture, menèrent Chris Marker à plusieurs reprises vers les studios de radio : Solitude, diffusée en 1943, à la radio nationale, une pièce radiophonique écrite sous le pseudonyme de Marc Dornier… L’Aube noire, en 1949, sur Paris-Inter, dans le cadre d’une émission de poésie… Toujours en 1949 et sur Paris-Inter, Cirque de notre vie dans la collection Les argonautes… Et aussi, La Peur à la radio : le fantastique, en 1950, une émission de science-fiction encore sur Paris-Inter, écrite par Chris Marker, Jean Basset et Pierre Schaeffer.

Jusqu’à la fin des temps, l’émission de la RDF est un essai dramatique d’un peu moins de vingt minutes que Chris Marker signa en 1949. Un récit empreint d’inquiétude, au temps d’un après-guerre irréel, dans lequel, comme dans un mauvais rêve, le monde menace de s’abîmer.

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“Chris Marker était quelqu’un qui, impulsivement, écrivait, on a l’impression qu’il écrivait plus vite qu’il ne pensait”

A l’occasion de l’exposition qui lui est consacrée à la Cinémathèque française, Albane Penaranda propose une “Nuit Chris Marker” avec des archives et des entretiens, pour commencer avec Raymond Bellour et Christine Van Assche. Entretien 1/3 avec les co-commissaires de l’exposition.

Nuit Chris Marker – Entretien avec Raymond Bellour et Christine Van Assche

A l’occasion de l’exposition qui lui est consacrée à La Cinémathèque française, Albane Penaranda propose une “Nuit Chris Marker” avec des archives et des entretiens. Deuxième partie de l’entretien avec Raymond Bellour et Christine Van Assche. Entretien 2/3 avec les co-commissaires de l’exposition.

Nuit Chris Marker – Dernier entretien avec Raymond Bellour et Christine Van Assche

A l’occasion de l’exposition qui lui est consacrée à La Cinémathèque française, Albane Penaranda propose une “Nuit Chris Marker” avec des archives et des entretiens. Troisième et dernière partie avec Raymond Bellour Christine Van Assche (co-commissaires de l’exposition).

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Costa-Gavras : “Sur un film Chris Marker ne voulait pas être le chef, il voulait être parmi les créateurs, cela c’est exemplaire”

Entretien avec le Président de La Cinémathèque Française, Costa-Gavras, qui était un des plus proches amis de Chris Marker. A l’occasion de l’exposition qui lui est consacrée et de la “Nuit Chris Marker”, il revient sur cette amitié et sur l’oeuvre de Marker.

Costa-Gavras, Ami de Chris Marker et Président de la Cinémathèque française

Christine van Assche & Raymond Bellour, les co-commissaires de l’exposition

Chris + Andrei

file-nov-06-5-28-06-pm

Chris Marker at the funeral of Andrei Arsenevich Tarkovsky. Les deux maîtres. It is au revoir not adieu, one may only hope. If rockstars can reunite in heaven, why not filmmakers? Imagine a film that combines the already fathomless treasures of La Jetée and Stalker

Chris Marker: (Le livre impossible) by Maroussia Vossen

Daughter Owl Chris MarkerOut of the blue, we learned of a new and quite intimate book on Chris Marker (‘un centre mouvant’), written by his adopted daughter Maroussia Vossen.

Marker’s life went into his work, and his personal life remained and remains a mystery to a great many of his fans. This new book, which can be found at Amazon.fr currently, promises to be a welcome respite from scholarly publications, and an insight into the oft-guarded personal side of the auteur. That Marker was loyal to his intimates has been clear, with testimonies coming since his death from many sides, including Pierre Lhomme and Patricio Guzman.

His friends were so numerous, yet each relationship, as attested to by Maroussia, was set in a kind of sacred space – just the opposite of social space with its flattening of relationships into connections, friends, followers… There is in this publication an aura of glimpsing into the center of the storm of a wildly productive life, at the most intimate and non-public relationship perhaps of all.

It is a welcome arrival. As we await its physical arrival from amazon.fr, we can at least ruminate and quote some preliminary texts that are posted on the publisher’s site, le-tripode.net. What was impossible during Marker’s life comes to life here, the impossible book somehow made possible.

Chris Marker (Le livre impossible)

Maroussia Vossen

« Ce texte n’est ni un roman, ni un essai ; encore moins une biographie. C’est le récit fragmentaire de mon lien à Chris Marker, de ma naissance à sa mort. »

L’un est un cinéaste mythique, l’autre sa fille d’adoption. L’un a fait de sa vie un mystère, l’autre en a été le témoin.

Avec justesse et humilité, Maroussia Vossen fait le récit sobre d’une filiation peu banale et révèle le portrait d’un artiste hors du commun, qui s’évertua jusqu’à sa mort à demeurer une énigme.

Artiste et écrivain, Chris Marker est notamment l’auteur d’un film culte : La Jetée.

L’Auteur

Née en 1955. Danse, chorégraphie, enseigne, aime les chats.Le Tripode, Chris Marker (Le livre impossible)

Maroussia Vossen, Chris Marker Le livre impossible

Préambule

Ce texte n’est ni un roman ni un essai; encore moins une biographie.

C’est le récit fragmentaire de mon lien à Chris Marker, de ma naissance à sa mort.

Je n’évoquerai pas le cinéaste, laissant ce travail à ses commentateurs. Je ne peux que restituer quelques instants partagés avec lui, à mesure qu’ils me reviennent en mémoire : plus de cinquante ans de souvenirs.

À peine sortie de l’enfance, je me suis rendu compte qu’il cloisonnait ses relations. Cela lui permettait d’avoir un échange privilégié, un rapport singulier avec l’autre, de construire un cercle dont il serait le centre, mais un centre mouvant. Ainsi, chacun peu aujourd’hui parler de ‘son’ Chris.

Mon point de vue (ou de vie) est fait de plusieurs regards. Celui d’une enfant qui cherche un père ; celui d’une adolescente à la fois rebelle et impressionnée par cet homme qui avait l’allure d’un grand fauve ; celui enfin d’une femme adulte, engagée dans sa propre voie artistique. Ce dernier regard est probablement le plus critique. Mais, quoi qu’il en soit, notre relation ne s’est jamais départé d’une forme de reconnaissance réciproque. On peut dire que notre lien était là et au-delà des mots, comme il était hors de toutes règles conventionnelles.

Chris Marker était un personnage complexe, ses multiples noms d’emprunt sont autant de preuves de son exceptionnelle capacité d’adaptation ; il m’a toujours été difficile d’en cerner les contours. Paradoxal, contradictoire, imprévisible… Ce ne sont que des mots. Immanquablement, il échappait à quiconque voulait l’enfermer dans une définition.

Maroussia Vossen, Chris Marker (Le livre impossible)

Extract published by Le Tripode on Issuu

Full-screen reading enabled

Letter to Alain Cuny by Chris Marker – Exhilaration

Alain Cuny, various portraits, Google images

Here is the English translation of the recently unearthed ‘Lettre à Alain’, originally published in Libération to highlight the 1991 debut of the film L’Annonce faite à Marie, under the title “Chris Marker: ‘Something of a Miracle’, with the sub-title ‘In 1991, for the release of the first projections of L’Annonce faite à Marie [The Announcement Made to Marie], Chris Marker wrote to the ‘young’ filmmaker.’

I take this moment and this space to offer my deep thanks and ongoing gratitude to Dorna Khazeni, who translated this letter for the site’s (majority) English readers. Thanks Dorna! Dorna is also the translator of Marker’s short story Phenomenon (n.), along with a handful of other materials, including the long post on bringing Dialector, Marker’s human-computer interaction machine, to KansasFest. She is one of the reasons I continue to explore Marker, as we share this dedication to his being and his work. What we admire and handle with care is multiple and does not demand defining; it does, however, certainly come across here in Marker’s revelatory moment of heightened awareness, the expressed transformative power of cinema, and his affirmation of friendship.

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Dear Alain,

Giraudoux wrote that one judges a play (or a film) by how one wakes up the morning after. From this point of view the experience has proven conclusive. But in fact it began as early as yesterday evening when we came back home. How long had it been since I last experienced that sort of physical lightness that surges when something in you has shifted during a screening? And how many films have I seen these last years that I left enumerating, as though for an accounting exam: yes, the director was talented, yes, the actors had been excellent, yes, the images were beautiful, yes, the story was interesting. And so? And so nothing. Nothing had shifted, I had seen a film, that was all, and it was already burying itself in the swamps of forgetting. I knew that ahead of all critique and all compliment, there needed to have been that initial shudder, that takeover over by another by which, in my youth, I used to recognize the works that would mark me for life. I blamed age, the sclerosis of enthusiasm, saturation by television… Know that I am grateful to you for having all at once returned to me the joy in an evening and that flavor of eternity that I sometimes savored on exiting a theater or cinema in the distant times when we had already come to know each other… That you should have arrived in your first attempt at the essential, that you should have (I am sure of this, more instinct than by premeditation) found the precise distance, the perfect distance, with text placed on film like a delicate web (one step to either side is the fall), that you should have, in short, invented the only way of bringing to life and listening to these characters in the booby-trapped universe of the cinematograph, is on the order of a miracle. Just as Violaine’s voice is miraculous. Here we are light-years from the “well-said” or “well-acted.” We are inside inner truth, inside this total correspondence of voice with that of which it speaks which music alone is sometimes capable of constructing: it would not take much for me to say never has a text been the beneficiary of so much rectitude, radiant humility. Humility! Not a quality that overflows in our great craft… Here it underlies every undertaking, it gives its true counterweight to the grandeur. Never is the beauty of the image—and God knows, it is beautiful—exercised at the expense of the text. Costumes, set, music, everything is at its right distance, nothing seeks to shine for itself alone, and this metaphor of the cathedral that holds the whole play in its embrace, here it incarnates itself in the film, itself, like a mise-en-abime, but the abyss opens skyward.

I have just reread what I wrote and these words appear vain and empty. What I must communicate to you is that with which I began, that state of physical well-being that defies commentary (in English there is a word for it that is untranslatable: exhilaration). When we left the Vidéotheque with my friend Catherine we were breathing easier, we were breathing rarer air. I met a friend who shared his distress over the fate of Russia, which I share, all the more so as I have Russian blood and am currently working on that particular tragedy. To my surprise, I heard myself answer him in a totally different way than the somber tone in which I would have normally expressed myself. I was going out on more of a limb, I was placing bets with greater (if only this word were not a little comical when applied to me) wisdom… And suddenly I realized I was not placing my bet from the basement of Les Halles, from Paris-France, I was placing my bet from the film. You were lending me, for one instant, a platform of grandeur from where I was seeing all things as we should always see them, if we had that strength and that wisdom. Poets are made to create such moments, moments of borrowing a strength that is not ours. The poet Claudel and the poet Cuny came together so that last night such a moment should take place. It is a gift that cannot be forgotten.

Yours, faithfully.
Chris Marker