Category Archives: Books

CinémAction n°165 – Chris Marker : pionnier et novateur

CinemAction 165 Chris MarkerThanks to Chris Darke for alerting us to this new publication with some familiar names contributing articles to CinémAction 165: Chris Marker: pionnier et novateure.

L’interactivité filmique, initiée de manière radicale dès 1950, permet d’appréhender une démarche polyphonique qui n’a cessé de montrer et commenter l’histoire du XXe siècle. Ciné-voyageur, Chris Marker reste, de fait, pionnier et novateur dans toute une série de domaines ici explorés. L’originalité de ce numéro s’est construite autour de ces pistes et de ces regards pluriels.

Sommaire

Préambule : Chris Marker, pionnier et novateur, Kristian Feigelson

I. Pionnier

  • Magicien du flou, Christophe Chazalon
  • Le fond de l’air est rouge : Le NU et les morts. Et l’espoir, Jean-Michel Frodon
  • Un producteur franc-tireur : l’expérience coopérative SLON (1968-1973), Catherine Roudé
  • Du temps des images à l’écriture mémorielle, André Habib

II. Filiations

  • Marker et le revue Esprit. A l’origine du film-essai, Sylvain Dreyer
  • Rive droite, rive gauche : face à la « Nouvelle Vague », Vincent Lowy
  • Du chat percheur aux chats marqueurs, Louise Traon
  • Les villes, itinéraires de chiffonnier : De Chats perchés à L’OuvroirShiho Azuma
  • La voix des autres, Johanne Villeneuve

III. Ciné-voyageur

  • Lettre de SibérieKristian Feigelson
  • Description d’un combatRégine-Mihal Friedman
  • Les filiations à l’Amérique latine, Maria Luisa Ortega
  • On vous parle de Tchécoslovaquie, David Cenek
  • Le tombeau d’Alexandre : la fin du cinéaste rouge, François Lecointe
  • Les images fantômes du Japon, Emi Koide

IV. Novateur

  • Sans soleil : une phénoménologie des apparences, Jarmo Valkola
  • L’héritage de la chouette : une matrice sérielle, Barbara Laborde
  • Story tellings : cinq installations, Etienne Sandrin
  • L’utopie électronique : une nouvelle mobilisation, Bamchade Pourvali

Post-scriptum

  • Anagramme, Catherine Belkhodja

Bibliographie sélectiveKristian Feigelson et Bamchade Pourvali
FilmographieChristophe Chazalon et Kristian Feigelson

For more information, go to cinemaction-collection.com.

On CinémAction

CinémAction : une collection thématique de parution trimestrielle

Défrichant de manière le plus souvent collective de nombreux thèmes, la collection CinémAction explore les liens du cinéma avec la société et les évènements historique. Elle fournit une véritable boite à outils pour l’étude du cinéma : histoire, théories, scénario, décors, genres, enseignement, liens avec les autres arts. Elle dresse le portrait de nombreux cinéastes et explore la production mondiale.

Le Coeur net + The Forthright Spirit

LE COEUR NET

Thanks to John H. for the gift of this PDF scan of the French original of Marker’s early novel Le Coeur net, published  in 1950 when Marker was 29 or so. 

We append to it the English translation from the following year.

Chris Marker, Le Coeur Net, Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1950. Préface de Jean Cayrol.

Chris Marker, The Forthright Spirit, trans. Robert Kee and Terence Kilmartin, London: Allan Wingate, 1951.

Here’s how it starts:

Un accident, ce n’est rien, ce n’est très exactement rien. Il y a le moment d’avant, où l’avion quitte le piste, où certaine qualité de silence autour de lui, certaine attente de la lumière autour de lui, le dérobent au mouvement, fontaine pétrifiante, (comme un ange pressé qui dépouillerait l’homme de son âme, comme le bandeau mis sur les yeux du condamné, une seconde avant la morte) — et le moment d’après, où l’avion n’est plus qu’une fléchette piquée dans la terre, une sauterelle grillée, une croix… Entre les deux, rien.

An accident—it’s nothing, it is quite literally nothing. There’s the moment just before, when the aircraft leaves the runway, when a certain quality of silence, something static about the light all round it, seems to immobilise it, to make of it a petrifying fountain (so might a hurried angel strip a man of his soul a second before death, so is a bandage put over the eyes of a condemned man)—and the moment afterwards, when the aircraft is no more than a dart stuck in the earth, a burnt-out grasshopper, a crucifix. Between the two moments—nothing.

Another Villeneuve

L’essai proposé ici se prend au jeu de la compagnie des images. Il propose l’invention d’un aller-retour sur Chris Marker. Nous sommes à bord d’un train : les images défilent au rythme de la machine ; elles évoquent d’autres images, des pensées et des souvenirs. Disons, par utopisme, que l’on dispose à volonté de toutes les images de Marker et de leurs commentaires – chose apparemment utopique tant le cinéaste lui-même a contribué à la difficulté de les rassembler. Le compartiment est une salle de projection, là où le défilement du paysage croise une œuvre aussi singulière que nécessaire. Le trajet se découpe en deux temps. Le voyage est éternel.

Excerpt From: Johanne Villeneuve. “Chris Marker.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/dVEAJ.l [also available as kindle book]

The essay proposed here takes on the game of the enterprise [company, club, society] of images. It proposes the invention of a round trip through (the landscape of) Chris Marker. We are on board a train: the images stretch out to the rhythm of the machine; they evoque other images, thoughts and memories. Let us say, as utopianists, that we are in possession at will of all the images of Marker and of their commentaries – a thing apparently utopian not least as the filmmaker himself contributed to the difficulty of assembling them. The compartment is a film theatre, there where the stretch of the landscape crosses a body of work as singular as necessary. The trajectory divides itself into two times. The trip is everlasting.

Le train en marche - Alexandre Medvedkin

Colin MacCabe Visits the Atelier

Chris Marker studio door

Visiting rue Courat
Colin MacCabe

It was early 2002 and people still used answering machines rather than mobile phones. The recording clicked in and an extraordinary voice that sounded as if it had been mechanically produced asked the caller to leave a message “if you have something interesting or amusing to say”. I was already nervous that I was cold calling Chris Marker, legendary recluse and indeed general artistic legend. My anxiety intensified and I started to stutter out my message. “I am in Paris and I have a VHS copy of a film called The Magic Face and…” The receiver was picked up (I learned later that Chris screened all his calls) and a very human voice said, “You are the Messiah”. I have never been more startled by any single sentence addressed to me.

If I was the Messiah then John the Baptist was Tom Luddy. It was a few days earlier that I had seen Tom in Berkeley and asked him if he could get me an introduction to Marker. “I have the perfect calling card”, he said. “Chris has been looking for a copy of a film called The Magic Face for 50 years and I have just found a poor VHS copy. Here – deliver it.” And deliver it I now did. Marker said that he would be in the Latin Quarter, where I was living, the next Tuesday but his enthusiasm for the film was so overpowering that I insisted that I would bring it immediately to him. His instructions were both precise and disorienting. I had to go to a Metro station I had never heard of, cross under a disused railway I had never seen, walk down a narrow street, the rue Courat, find a huge house with an array of bells and names. Then I was to choose the bell without any name and ring three times.

The Metro was Maraichers and over the next decade I was to come to know it and that part of the 20th arrondissement well. No tourist has ever set foot there and it corresponds to none of the conventional pictures of Paris but with its completely mixed and relatively poor population it is as good an image of contemporary France profonde as you can find. But that first day it was terra incognita. As I stood at the door of the house I wondered if I had wandered into a parallel universe.

Of course I had and in time I would feel at home there. But, for now, I felt extremely uncomfortable and slightly terrified as I waited for the door to open. Everybody knew Marker’s name (although Marker wasn’t his real name) but unlike almost any other twentieth century name there was no accompanying image. I had no idea what to expect. Suddenly, bounding down the steps came what at very first impression was a huge and agile monkey. Indeed I wouldn’t have been surprised if there had been a long and bushy tail to go with the completely bald head. Certainly he bounded back up the stairs with long agile leaps leaving me, thirty years his junior, toiling in his wake.

And then we were in his studio …
Colin MacCabe, www.orbooks.com

Colin MacCabe is a British academic, writer and film producer. He has published books on a variety of subjects, including Jean Luc Godard, James Joyce and T.S. Eliot, and has produced many films, among them Young Soul Rebels, Seasons in Quincy, and Caravaggio. He is currently distinguished professor of English and film at the University of Pittsburgh.

For a rare interview of Marker by MacCabe, see 80:81 Chris Marker Speaks with Colin MacCabe.

For pre-orders and additional information on the book and its three authors, navigate to OR Books | Studio: Remembering Chris Marker.

For more information on the forthcoming book Studio by OR Books, of which the MacCabe remembrance is an excerpt, see our initial post Studio: A Remembrance of Chris Marker – Bartos, McCabe, Lerner.

10:04 | 4001

FYI, Ben Lerner’s novel 10:04, which I had the pleasure of reading this year, is a fantastic novel. Lerner contributes the Introduction to Studio. Some things are definitely worth waiting for, down to the minute. It strikes me now that 10:04 reversed is 4001, the year of perfect memory in Sans Soleil:

He hasn’t come from another planet he comes from our future, four thousand and one: the time when the human brain has reached the era of full employment. Everything works to perfection, all that we allow to slumber, including memory. Logical consequence: total recall is memory anesthetized. After so many stories of men who had lost their memory, here is the story of one who has lost forgetting, and who—through some peculiarity of his nature—instead of drawing pride from the fact and scorning mankind of the past and its shadows, turned to it first with curiosity and then with compassion. In the world he comes from, to call forth a vision, to be moved by a portrait, to tremble at the sound of music, can only be signs of a long and painful pre-history. He wants to understand. He feels these infirmities of time like an injustice, and he reacts to that injustice like Ché Guevara, like the youth of the sixties, with indignation. He is a Third Worlder of time. The idea that unhappiness had existed in his planet’s past is as unbearable to him as to them the existence of poverty in their present.

[…]

As we await the year four thousand and one and its total recall, that’s what the oracles we take out of their long hexagonal boxes at new year may offer us: a little more power over that memory that runs from camp to camp—like Joan of Arc. That a short wave announcement from Hong Kong radio picked up on a Cape Verde island projects to Tokyo, and that the memory of a precise color in the street bounces back on another country, another distance, another music, endlessly.

Ricardo Greene, Iván Pinto Publish La Zona Marker

la-zona-marker

I received an email from Ricardo Greene with news of a new, important book on Chris Marker in Spanish: La Zona Marker The book is published by Ediciones FIDOCS (Culdoc series) in Santiago, Chile. It presents a collection of essays by Ricardo Green, Iván Pinto, Patricio Guzmán (“Lo que debo a Chris Marker”), Trevor Stark, Carolina Anaral de Aguiar, Chris Marker himself (“El ùltimo bolchevique”), Maria Paz Peirano, Maria Luisa Ortega, Gonzalo De Lucas, Eduardo A. Russo, Raymond Bellour (“Marker Forever” in its first Spanish translation), and Wolfgang Bongers. More information is available on the FIDOCS site at https://www.fidocs.cl/2013/06/18/la-zona-marker/. According to CinemaChile.cl, Ricardo Greene is a director, sociologist and visual anthropologist, and was the director of the 17th version of FIDOCS, a film festival founded by Patrizio Guzman.

The only other book on Marker in Spanish that I know of is Chris Marker Inmemoria, published by Ambulante Ediciones in 2013, edited by Maria Fortes and Lorena Gómez Mostajo, and published in Mexico. I will present the table of contents for that volume in a separate post. Note: Christophe Chazalon wrote me post-post, pointing to some other Spanish language publications on Marker, as listed on this page of chrismarker.ch (section “en espanol”). Thanks CH2!*

For those who wish to take a look at La Zona Marker in pdf format, you can access it on academia.edu at www.academia.edu/12500029/La_Zona_Marker.

Contratulations to Ricardo and Iván and happy reading. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

A post on fidocs.cl clarifies the tripartite organization of the book:

Además de lanzar una nueva competencia de cortometrajes en su honor y de presentar una muestra de sus películas, este año hemos decidido honrar a Chris Marker con La Zona Marker. Dividido en tres capítulos, cada uno de ellos está dedicado a las distintas “vanguardias” que pueden encontrarse en su vida y obra: la primera, sobre el militante comprometido, cuenta con artículos de Trevor Stark, Carolina Amaral De Aguiar y del propio Chris Marker; el segundo, sobre el explorador que se adentra en culturas desconocidas, presenta trabajos inéditos de María Paz Peirano, Maria Luisa Ortega y Gonzalo De Lucas; el tercero, por último, es sobre sus innovaciones en el lenguaje audiovisual y edita artículos de Raymond Bellour, Eduardo Russo y Wolfgang Bongers. A ellos se suma un trabajo introductorio de los editores y una carta de Patricio Guzmán, además de ilustraciones y fotogramas. Una obra dedicada no sólo a especialistas sino a cualquiera que quiera adentrarse en los bordes difusos de su enorme legado.
R.G.

Aside from launching a new short film competition in his honor, and screening a retrospective of his work, this year we have decided to play a tribute to Chris Marker with The Marker Zone. It’s divided in three chapters, each one of them dedicated to a different cutting edge point that can be found throughout his life and works: the first about the committed militant, includes articles by Trevor Stark, Carolina Amaral De Aguiar and Chris Marker himself; the second about the explorer that ventures into unknown cultures, with unedited works by María Paz Peirano, Maria Luisa Ortega and Gonzalo De Lucas; the third and last is about his innovation on the audiovisual language and has edited articles by Raymond Bellour, Eduardo Russo and Wolfgang Bongers. Furthermore, an introductory piece by the editors and a letter by Patricio Guzmán, besides illustrations and video frames. A book not just dedicated to the adept, but to anyone who wants to delve into the vague fringes of his huge legacy.
R.G.

Table of Contents

ÍNDICE
Agradecimientos

La Zona Marker: Preludio en tres actos
Ricardo Greene e Iván Pinto

Lo que debo a Chris Marker
Patricio Guzmán

CAPÍTULO 1: UN GATO CON GARRAS

El Grupo Medvedkine y la División Cinemática del Trabajo
Trevor Stark

El ímpetu revolucionario latinoamericano en el discurso cinematográfico de Chris Marker
Carolina Amaral de Aguiar

El último bolchevique
Chris Marker

CAPÍTULO 2: GATOS ERRANTES

Viaje, romanticismo y crítica cultural: La mirada antropológica de Chris Marker
María Paz Peirano

El coleccionista y sus geografías
María Luisa Ortega

You are my second chance! Composición política de la imagen en Sans soleil
Gonzalo De Lucas

CAPÍTULO 3: “… Y ERA UN GATO, DESPUÉS DE TODO”

Del atalaya al observatorio. El cine desde las instalaciones de Chris Marker
Eduardo A. Russo

Marker forever
Raymond Bellour

Cine expandido en la era de memorias erráticas. Apuntes sobre Immemory
Wolfgang Bongers

Selección de caricaturas

Biografías

Chris Darke Publishes La Jetée

Chris Darke is coming out with a new book on La Jetée and has arranged for chrismarker.org to publish the first chapter. Many thanks to Chris and to the British Film Institute! It’s an honor to get a sneak peak at this important, extremely perceptive take on Chris Marker’s most famous creation. Please click below to read the chapter. If you wish, you can order your copy at amazon.uk. Also now available at amazon.com.

La Jetée by Chris Darke, BFI Classics, Chapter One

Chris Darke, La Jetée. BFI Classics. Published July 2016

Chris Darke Biography

Chris Darke is a writer and film critic. For over twenty years his work has been published in newspapers and magazines including: Sight and Sound, Film Comment, Cahiers du cinéma, Trafic, Frieze, Vertigo, and The Independent. He is the author of four books: Light Readings: Film Criticism and Screen Arts (2000); a monograph on Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville (2005); Cannes: Inside the World’s Premier Film Festival (with Kieron Corless, 2007); and a study of La Jetée in the BFI Film Classics series (2016). He has contributed essays to catalogues and edited collections, as well as translating texts by Raymond Bellour, Jean-Pierre Oudart, Pascal Bonitzer, and Marc Augé, among others.

He has also made short arts documentaries for British television: his 1999 film about Chris Marker’s La Jetée was included (at Guillaume’s insistence) on French, UK, and US DVD releases of La Jetée and Sans soleil. He was creative consultant on Grant Gee’s Patience (After Sebald) (2012), a feature-length essay-film about W. G. Sebald’s novel The Rings of Saturn. He co-curated the major exhibition Chris Marker: A Grin without a Cat at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 2014, for which he also co-edited the catalogue. He is a Senior Lecturer in Film at Roehampton University, London.

Books

Light Readings: Film Criticism and Screen Arts (London: Wallflower Press, 2000)
Alphaville: French Film Guide (London, IB Tauris, 2005)
Cannes: Inside the World’s Premier Film Festival (with Kieron Corless. London: Faber, 2007)
Chris Marker: A Grin without a Cat (co-editor with Habda Rashid. Whitechapel Gallery, 2014)

Selected essays, articles, reviews, and interviews

Review: Antonioni exhibition at the Cinémathèque Française, Film Comment, July 2015
https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/artform-antonioni-at-the-paris-cinematheque/

Uneasy Listening: Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, UK, 2012), Film Comment, May-June 2013
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/berberian-sound-studio-uneasy-listening/

Interview with Patricio Guzmán on Nostalgia for the Light (Chile, Spain, Germany, France, 2012), Sight & Sound, August 2012
https://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/interviews/desert-disappeared-patricio-guzman-nostalgia-light/

Systems Analyst: All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (Adam Curtis, UK, 2011), Film Comment, July-August 2012
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/adam-curtis-all-watched-over-by-machines-of-loving-grace/

Interview: Adam Curtis, Film Comment, July-August 2012
https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/interview-adam-curtis/

Antonioni – the afterlife, Sight & Sound (online), March 2011
https://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/comment/obituaries/antonioni-afterlife

“Les Enfants et les Cinéphiles” The Moment of Epiphany in The Spirit of the Beehive (Victor Erice, Spain, 1973), Cinema Journal, 49, no. 2, Winter 2010, pp. 152-158.
https://muse.jhu.edu/article/373237

On the Threshold: on Hunger (Steve McQueen, UK & Ireland, 2008), Criterion Collection, 2010
https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/1375-hunger-on-the-threshold

Three Images of May: Cinema and the Uprising, Vertigo, Vol. 3 Issue 9, Spring-Summer 2008
https://www.closeupfilmcentre.com/vertigo_magazine/volume-3-issue-9-spring-summer-2008/three-images-of-may-cinema-and-the-uprising/

Review: Yella (Christian Petzold, Germany, 2007), Film Comment, May-June 2008
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/yella-review/june

First Person Singular: on the essay films of Agnès Varda, Film Comment, January-February 2008
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/first-person-singular-agnes-varda/

Freedom and Dirt: on Vagabond (Agnes Varda, France, 1985), Criterion Collection, 2008
https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/501-vagabond-freedom-and-dirt

Once More … into the Zone: Chris Marker Looks Back, in Wonder, Vertigo, Vol. 3 Issue 6, Summer 2007
https://www.closeupfilmcentre.com/vertigo_magazine/volume-3-issue-6-summer-2007/once-more-into-the-zone-chris-marker-looks-back-in-wonder/

Sweet Bird of Youth: Kes (Ken Loach, UK, 1969), Film Comment, July-August 2007
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/encore-kes/

Films of Ruin and Rapture: In Search of Jean-Daniel Pollet, Film Comment, May-June 2007
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/films-of-ruin-and-rapture-in-search-of-jean-daniel-pollet/

Chris Marker: The Invisible Man, Film Comment, May-June 2003
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/chris-marker-the-invisible-man/

Chris Marker: Eyesight, Film Comment, May-June 2003
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/chris-marker-eyesight/

Letter from London (on surveillance and cinema), Senses of Cinema, Issue 25, March 2003
https://sensesofcinema.com/author/chris-darke/