Category Archives: Clips

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

Sixth Side of the Pentagon Trailer

The image below from Marker’s Staring Back photo collection book was posted to the Chris Marker Facebook page today by Ben McGill. Marker getting the not welcome please cease and desist moves by the US military police… Neither the image nor the film have lost their significance, to say the least, as the resistance to power renews itself after a short nap of reason (that of course produced monsters). As Ben aptly notes, “Perhaps the best place to hide is in your own book.”

Chris Marker accosted by the Military Police Pentagon 1967

Chris Marker, Staring Back, p 10

Note: I have found the page in Chris Marker Staring Back and scanned the image. Not edited at all, so it is still quite blurry, but you can click on it for a larger version. For Ben’s version, see Chris Marker Facebook Group.

On October 21, 1967, over 100,000 protestors gathered in Washington, D.C., for the Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam. It was the largest protest gathering yet, and it brought together a wide cross-section of liberals, radicals, hippies, and Yippies. Che Guevara had been killed in Bolivia only two weeks previously, and, for many, it was the transition from simply marching against the war, to taking direct action to try to stop the ‘American war machine.’ Norman Mailer wrote about the events in Armies of the Night. French filmmaker Chris Marker, leading a team of filmmakers, was also there, and made THE SIXTH SIDE OF THE PENTAGON.
IMDB

For more information, see Icarus Films video page. They offer the DVD of The Sixth Side of the Pentagon bundled with Marker’s short fiction film 1973 The Embassy.

The original title of the film is La sixième face du pentagone, filmed in 1967 and finished in 1968. It is a collaboration between Marker and François Reichenbach. For a deeper look at Reichenbach and his career, take a look at the article “Francois Reichenbach Dies at 71; Directed Range of Documentaries” in The New York Times, dated 2/3/1993. Among his books is Le monde a encore un visage, a statement certainly given ample life in both Reichenbach’s and Marker’s films and photography.

Robert Goff has written one of the most comprehensive reviews of the film. Here’s an excerpt:

The films of Chris Marker continue to remind us how the history of the twentieth century haunts the present. Few directors alive today have filmed in so many countries, witnessing and commenting on the events of the second half of the century. This prolific French filmmaker has brought a left-wing political vision and a reflective sensibility to the creation of a remarkable body of work. With so few films from his vast archive available in the United States, one is grateful for the release of any of his works, however minor. The Sixth Side of the Pentagon (1967) and The Embassy (1973) are two short films made during the time of the production company, SLON (Société Pour le Lancement d’Oevres Nouvelles [Company for the Launching of New Work]) that Marker founded in 1967 and that lasted until 1977. The Sixth Side of the Pentagon is a documentary on, arguably, the most important anti-Vietnam war demonstration of the 1960s, the march to the Pentagon in 1967, later immortalized in Norman Mailer’s Pulitzer prize-winning The Armies of the Night. The Embassy, shot in Super 8, imitates the form of a documentary but it actually is a fictional work that references the overthrow of President Allende in Chile the same year the film was made.

If the coup in Chile in 1973 influenced the making of The Embassy, the film is also a commentary on French society. Marker’s voice-over suggests that the director is filming left-wing intellectuals taking refuge in the embassy from an unnamed military regime. The voice expresses left-wing ideas about repressive regimes and class struggle but what the viewer seems to be watching is a silent home movie of a wealthy family and their guests. Marker, the viewer realizes, is filming actors and what we see and hear alludes to the privileged but often impotent position of intellectuals in society. One surmises that in 1973 the filmmaker was probably coming to terms with his own feelings about what had just happened in Chile.

The Sixth Side of the Pentagon is the slightly longer and more conventional of the two films. Mostly shot in color, it captures the dramatic events in Washington during October 1967. Marker and his co-director, Francoise Reichenbach (the film is a typical example of the collaborative SLON) share a gift for capturing bizarre confrontations: American Nazis distribute flyers on “gassing the Viet Cong” and try to shout down draft resistors outside the Department of Justice; sinister U.S. military personnel look down from the top of the Lincoln Memorial while below hordes of protestors, many wearing clothing and carrying banners bearing the image of Che Guevara, can be seen thronging the steps and lining the distant reflecting pool; a minister sermonizes against communism from atop a cherry picker while hippies chant pagan incantations below, led by Ed Sanders of the Fugs; middle-aged U.S. Marshals emerge from the Pentagon wearing steel helmets, lashing out with clubs and bloodying very young demonstrators. The film, however, is not just an observational documentary as Marker’s commentary is unequivocally on the side of the protestors in this huge demonstration against the military might of the Pentagon, which in 1967 symbolized the war in Vietnam.

After watching these films, the viewer is advised to see Marker’s A Grin without a Cat (also available from Icarus Films). This compilation film is one of Marker’s more important feature-length films but it can also be viewed as a very long DVD commentary on these two short films. Released in 1977 and revised further in 1993, A Grin without a Cat is a meditation on the history of the struggles of the left, particularly over Vietnam, in the 1960s and 1970s, and concludes with a long commentary on the demise of the Allende government. Marker laments he did not notice the rise of the right in his narration of A Grin without a Cat, which incorporates considerable amounts of footage…
Robert Goff, “The Sixth Side of the Pentagon and The Embassy”, Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies, Volume 39.1 (Spring 2009) pp. 75-76 – as presented on http://muse.jhu.edu/article/375875

Fandor also has the film available online, though only the trailer in front of the paywall: www.fandor.com, in a very clean video with good resolution. This is the English dubbed version. On the Pentagon: “It is a place with the greatest concentration of military men per square mile, cemeteries excepted.”

L’essai : vues d’Allemagne, la fabrique documentaire

L'essai : vues d'Allemagne from la fabrique documentaire on Vimeo.

This essay film on ‘views’ of the essay film in Germany begins with the unmistakable, raspy and wise voice of Gilles Deleuze, and quickly launches into a rapid montage of moments of meta, showing and letting the showing speak, while adding voices but not an authorial voice per se, rather quoted voices – just as cinematic citation pulls clips out of context so does the audio editing. But everything was de-contextualized already, and perhaps it is not a loss of context we see in the meta-cinema movement, but a constant churning of recontextualization, never complete but less prone to the voice of the deus ex machina. The auteur recedes like the tide, and the collective works like ants or bees, collectively of course, behind the scenes. How refreshing not to have a central figure to lionize or demonize, to put on a pedestal. And yet, there is nostalgia for the total statement, the touch of genius, the auteur herself nonetheless. An ambivalence creeps in to the plethora of video essays we have been witness to of late, emerging like California wildfires as cinema wraps around itself and the pedagogic impulse, from professorial to journalistic, learns the tools of montage. The caméra-stylo triumphant, but awash too in a potential sea of banality. Who will emerge as the master of this new wave of essay film/video, if anyone? Do we need heros anymore? Do we need genius? Perhaps these questions are beside the point, and the real thesis is that now we can treat the film as text, something that Bellour always argued against. Not in a book, but in another film can this stratagem succeed, perhaps. Gutenberg slumbers on… The thesis can be lost as the particulars, the instances of speech and moving image as signs accumulate. Have we fallen out of the temptation of the essay to have a thesis at all, as taught relentlessly to students globally, or are we merely acceding to the impulses of the essai sauvage – the wild essay form, beginning in media res and spiraling around its ultimate thematic monads, unrushed, expansive – as born in the tower of Montaigne?

Chateau de Montaigne

La fabrique documentiare

Depuis 2005, la fabrique documentaire* produit, réalise, programme et diffuse des œuvres documentaires (audio, vidéo, livre, web, exposition…), en explorant de nouvelles façons d’écrire et de partager.

Nos productions, initiatives personnelles ou travaux de commande, engagent des points de vue d’auteurs. La fabrique documentaire privilégie les projets qui lui semblent de nature à nourrir la pensée, voire à infléchir le réel.

* En 2015, Radiofonies Europe devient la fabrique documentaire.
la fabrique documentaire

Chris Marker Month at MUBI

Our friends at MUBI are putting on a Chris Marker retrospective this Summer, giving UK members the ability to see Chris Marker films online for a small monthly fee. I’m trying to get more details on the programming & country limitations, so please check back here. Note 7/28/15: I’ve confirmed that the retrospective is limited to the UK site.

We’ve been adding one title a week for the past three weeks, and from tomorrow July 29th (and as I’m sure you know, the anniversary of Marker’s birth and death) the four of them will be live.

IN CELEBRATION OF CHRIS MARKER
This summer we’ll be hosting a retrospective on one of our all-time favourite auteurs, Master film & video essayist Chris Marker. Each week we’ll play one of his most iconic works.MUBI Marker Month

MUBI is known for its informed, eclectic and globe-spanning programming. The site has a large archive of films known and unknown, a selection of which are available live at any given time. MUBI screens classics and obscure indie films alike, all curated by people with great taste & wide-ranging interests. You won’t find this cinéphilic catalog on Netflix. In addition, extensive user-contributed lists, ratings, favorites & following functionality add a social media dimension to the site.

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Pompidou Planète Marker Video Archive

It’s been a great pleasure, having been unable to attend the Centre Pompidou’s 2013 Chris Marker exhibition and retrospective, to witness the appearance on Daily Motion of videos of the talks that were held, as well as a wonderfully edited overall / intro video that emerges us in Marker’s visual world. While a longer post is in progress on the series and the practice of video archiving, I did want to present the intro video first, as a kind of teaser and work of art unto itself.

Planète Marker – du 16 octobre 2013 au 22 décembre 2013


Planète Marker – du 16 octobre 2013 au 22… by centrepompidou

Par Raymond Bellour, écrivain et théoricien de cinéma.
Le Centre Pompidou et la Bibliothèque publique d’information (Bpi) rendent hommage à Chris Marker, à travers ses films bien sûr mais aussi en suivant la piste de ses inspirations, de ses amitiés et de ses rencontres… Au coeur de ce voyage, l’exposition de ses installations et des oeuvres multimédias rassemblées dans la collection du Centre Pompidou, ses films et vidéos et un salon de lecture à la Bpi.dailymotion.com/video | Centre Pompidou channel

2084 Remix

Just realizing now how much Dialector appears as the UI of this future imagined by Marker as a commissioned piece for syndicalism. More in a bit. For now, here is a strange remix of the short film of Marker’s, 2084. We also see Hayao, the Zone man, credited – Marker’s reality distortion engine taken here to another level, in homage… It’s called 2084 “Through the mirrorshades glasses of Chris Marker” REMIX .

2084 Info by Chazalon

1984 – France – 9’46 – vidéo / 16 et 35mm – Couleur
A travers 2084, video clip pour une réflexion syndicale et pour le plaisir, court métrage collectif réalisé à l’occasion des 100 ans du syndicalisme en France, Chris Marker et le groupe confédéral audiovisuel CFDT ne choisissent pas tant de retracer l’histoire d’un siècle d’action syndicale que de lui signifier, par trois hypothèses, ce qu’il lui reste à entreprendre. Ils imaginent la fiction d’une émission de télévision intergalactique qui, en 2084, ferait un sujet sur le deuxième centenaire du mouvement syndical.
Cette commande de la CFDT a été diffusée sur Antenne 2, le 29 mars 1984.

Générique (fin, dans l’ordre de d’apparition)
2084
Une réalisation de Chris. Marker et du Groupe Confédéral Audiovisuel CFDT
avec: Sophie Garnier, Bibiane Kirby, Atika Tahiri
Image: Robert Millie, Christian Bordes, Pascal Le Moal
Assistant: Pierre Camus
Directeur de production: Claude Gilaizeau
Effets spéciaux: Hayao Yamaneko
Ordinateur Sinclair
Avec la voix de François Perier
… un raton laveeur (sic)!

Distribution: ISKRA

Commentaire / scénario: en allemand, dans Revolver, n° 27 (automne 2012), n.p.

2084 CH2_2013.pdf

Bibliographie

Eric HASSAN, “Et-vive-le-vidéo-syndicalisme”, Libération, n° 889 (29 mars 1984), p. 37
* Liù CHAMORIN, “Clermont-Ferrand 1986”, Positif, n° 302 (avril 1986), p. 61Christophe Chazalon, chrismarker.ch

L’Original 2084