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Cinemathèque française Announces Chris Marker Exhibition + Retrospective

Les Sept Vies d'un Cineaste Chris Marker Exhibition Cinematheque francaise

Exciting news from the Cinémathèque française announcing dates for the much-anticipated Chris Marker exhibition has been posted on www.cinematheque.fr.

Here’s the intro and several citations for now. English translations have been added at the end of the post.

For background on the acquisition of Marker’s estate, see State of the Estate and State of the Estate II: The Glorious Shambles, as well as Fonds Chris Marker – 550 Grands Cartons chez Cinémathèque française here at chrismarker.org.

CHRIS MARKER LES 7 VIES D’UN CINÉASTE
EXPOSITION – RETROSPECTIVE DU 3 MAI AU 29 JUILLET 2018

L’exposition Chris Marker est un voyage. Un voyage dans l’espace et le temps, un voyage qui accompagne, de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale et la Résistance jusqu’à sa mort en 2012, le parcours exceptionnel d’un cinéaste et d’un homme hors du commun. Ce voyage est à la fois la chronique d’une existence longue et très remplie, et une libre circulation dans les différentes couches du temps aux côtés d’un explorateur inventif de possibles déplacements entre présent, passé et avenir, déplacements dont La Jetée a offert le modèle le plus connu. Cette exposition est en même temps un voyage dans l’espace, à la surface de la planète, aux côtés d’un infatigable globe-trotter, curieux du monde et de ses habitants : la Californie, l’Islande, la Corée, la Guinée-Bissau, la Sibérie, la Chine, l’Amérique latine de Mexico à Valparaíso en passant par La Havane, jalonnent ces trajets où l’amour du Japon occupe une place singulière. Les parcours de Chris Marker, à l’occasion, l’auront même mené sur Mars ou sur la planète virtuelle de Second Life…

[…]

La Cinémathèque française a recueilli les immenses archives de toute nature et sur tout support laissées par Marker à sa mort. C’est à partir de ce trésor aussi riche qu’hétérogène qu’a été conçue l’exposition, à la fois chronologique et thématique. La matière de ce legs est si riche et si complexe que l’inventaire de celui qui fut aussi un archiviste passionné n’est pas encore achevé au moment d’ouvrir l’exposition. On y découvre en particulier les œuvres originales qui lui avaient été offertes par de grands artistes, ses propres créations plastiques jusque-là inconnues, ainsi que ses deux grandes installations, Zapping Zone (Proposals for an Imaginary Television) et Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men, ainsi que le programme de discussion avec un ordinateur qu’il avait conçu, Dialector.

[…]

L’exposition est accompagnée, dans les salles de la Cinémathèque, par l’intégrale des films, vidéos et programmes télévisés (les treize épisodes de L’Héritage de la chouette) réalisés par Chris Marker. Seront également projetés les films auxquels il a collaboré, et le documentaire récent que lui ont consacré Jean-Marie Barbe et Arnaud Lambert, Never Explain, Never Complain. Et encore un programme particulier de grands films classiques particulièrement aimés de Marker et avec lesquels ses propres réalisations dialoguent.

Text by: Christine Van Assche (commissaire générale), Raymond Bellour et Jean-Michel Frodon (commissaires associés)

Find out more at: www.cinematheque.fr

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For those who wish in advance to dig a bit deeper into a philosophical exploration of Chris Marker and the archive, I recommend reading “Marker’s Archive”, the second Essay of Gavin Keeney’s recent book Knowledge, Spirit, Law: Book 2: The Anti-Capitalist Sublime. The sections of this wide-ranging reflection – within an even wider-ranging, fascinating book – comprise: I. Cultural Patrimony; II. Futural Intensity; III. Belated Assimilations; IV. Editioned Works; V. Pre-1962 Marker; and VI. Postscript. It is available through Punctum Books (‘earth, milky way’) in a limited edition. See punctumbooks.com.

Keeney is no stranger to Marker. In 2012, he published Dossier Chris Marker: The Suffering Image. The publisher Cambridge Scholars offers this sample online: Download PDF: Dossier Chris Marker.

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CHRIS MARKER THE 7 LIVES OF A CINEASTE
EXPOSITION – RETROSPECTIVE FROM MAY 3 TO JULY 29, 2018

The exhibition Chris Marker is a journey. A journey in space and time, a journey that accompanies, from the Second World War and the Resistance until his death in 2012, the exceptional journey of a filmmaker and a man out of the ordinary. This trip is at the same time the chronicle of a long and very full existence, and a free movement in the different layers of time alongside an inventive explorer of possible displacements between present, past and future, displacements of which La Jetée offered the best known model. This exhibition is at the same time a journey into space, on the surface of the planet, alongside a tireless globe-trotter, curious about the world and its inhabitants: California, Iceland, Korea, Guinea Bissau, Siberia, China, Latin America from Mexico City to Valparaíso via Havana, mark out those journeys where the love of Japan occupies a singular place. The courses of Chris Marker, on occasion, will have even led him to Mars or to the virtual planet of Second Life …

[…]

The Cinémathèque française has collected the immense archives of all kinds and on any medium [format, device] left by Marker at his death. It is from this rich and heterogeneous treasure – both chronological and thematic – that the exhibition was conceived. The material of this legacy is so rich and so complex that the inventory of the one who was also a passionate archivist is not yet complete when opening the exhibition. In particular, we discover the original works that had been offered to him by great artists, his own previously unknown plastic [fine art] creations, as well as his two great installations, Zapping Zone (Proposals for an Imaginary Television) and Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men, as well as the discussion program with a computer he had designed, Dialector.

[…]

The exhibition is accompanied, in theaters of the Cinémathèque, by the complete movies, videos and television programs (the thirteen episodes of The Owl’s Legacy) directed by Chris Marker. Also to be screened are the films he collaborated on, and the recent documentary directed by Jean-Marie Barbe and Arnaud Lambert, Never Explain, Never Complain. And as well a particular program of great classic films particularly loved by Marker and with which his own realizations dialogue.

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Update I: Assembling Marker with Jean-Michel Frodon

I just noticed news of an event, “Assembling Marker”, which will put Marker curator Jean-Michel Frodon in conversation with Nora Alter at Slought | Assembling Marker in Philadelphia, on March 12, 2018. It has been organized with Film and Media Arts at Temple University and Cinema & Media Studies and French & Francophone Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Of course the mention of a “double volume publication” by the Cinémathèque definitely caught my attention. Here an excerpt from the announcement:

Upon Marker’s death, there were no direct heirs nor designees to manage his estate, preserve his legacy, and archive his materials. That task was taken up by the archives experts from Cinémathèque française, with the help and guidelines of a few devoted individuals including Jean-Michel Frodon and Raymond Bellour. The result of their tireless efforts and commitment is a double volume publication forthcoming this May, the most comprehensive exhibition ever dedicated to Marker’s multifacted work, and a vast retrospective including all his films and many of those he was inspired by or that were inspired by him, opening at the Cinémathèque Française on May 2. In conversation with Alter, Frodon will discuss the experience and process of archiving Marker, editing his writings and preparing an exhibition—all part of the process of making accessible the work of a deeply private person who vehemently disliked public life.
slought.org

Where do people get the idea that being a “deeply private person” translates automatically into “vehemently disliked public life”? Sure, if we define public life as non-stop interviews and being stalked by paparazzi, that might hold true, but Marker welcomed strangers into his atelier, offered them vodka, made friends across the world, and in many ways made public life – the commons and the global village – the vast palette from which he assembled his creations, even though he no doubt needed long stretches of private, focused time to bring them to life.

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Update II: CHRIS MARKER L’HOMME MONDE

The current presentation on the Actes Sud site gives the title of the catalog (and the exhibition) as Chris Marker: l’homme monde:

L’exposition “Chris Marker, l’homme monde”, organisée l’année des célébrations du cinquantième anniversaire de Mai 68, s’accompagne de l’édition d’un ouvrage de référence, pour lequel ont été conviés les plus grands spécialistes de l’œuvre de l’artiste. Les trente essais qui composent cet imposant volume dévoilent les différentes facettes de la personnalité de cet homme qui fut tour à tour résistant, écrivain, cinéaste, amateur d’art, voyageur, photographe, éditeur, monteur… Répartie en neuf chapitres, l’iconographie riche et dense fait la part belle aux archives des collections de la Cinémathèque française, dont certaines inédites. L’ouvrage se donne ainsi l’ambition de plonger dans l’intimité de Marker pour permettre d’en saisir toute la contemporanéité du projet intellectuel et artistique, la curiosité et l’acuité du regard sur la situation de notre monde actuel, la générosité politique et l’exigence éthique. En outre, l’œuvre de Chris Marker a eu un impact considérable et fut une source d’inspiration pour nombre d’intellectuels, de créateurs, de réalisateurs et de passionnés du cinéma.
Actes Sud

Chris Marker L'Homme Monde catalog Actes Sud

The exhibition “Chris Marker, the world man”, organized the year of the celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of May 68, is accompanied by the edition of a reference work, for which were invited the greatest specialists on the work of the artist. The thirty essays that compose this imposing volume unveil the various facets of the personality of this man who was in turn ‘resistant’, writer, filmmaker, amateur artist, traveler, photographer, book editor, film editor… Distributed in nine chapters, the rich, dense iconography is the pride of the archives in the collections of the Cinémathèque française, some unpublished. The book thus aims to plunge into the intimacy of Marker, in order to fully grasp the contemporaneity of his intellectual and artistic project, the curiosity and acuteness of his view of the situation of our current world, his poetic generosity and ethical imperative. In addition, the work of Chris Marker has had a considerable impact and was a source of inspiration for many intellectuals, creators, directors and film enthusiasts.
Actes Sud

Chris Marker, Never Explain, Never Complain @ DOXA

There is a new film out entitled Chris Marker, Never Explain, Never Complain, by Jean-Marie Barbe & Arnaud Lambert. The film is to be shown as part of the 2017 DOXA Festival called “French, French” taking place 4-14 Mai 2017 at the Cinémathèque in Vancouver, BC, and will move to theh Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley after that (not sure of dates yet). For the news and the PDF of the DOXA press booklet I am grateful to Christine van Assche.

The festival will show recent French documentary films alongside a selection of Marker’s work, including Une Journée d’Andrei Arsenevitch, Le Souvenir d’un avenir, Chats perchés, Le Tombeau d’Alexandre, Le Fond de l’air est rouge, and L’Héritage de la chouette.

The program is curated by Thierry Garrel. If you dig a bit, you can find a Marker-related essay by Garrel on the DOXA site called “Two Cats, An Owl and a Lot of Nice Human Beings.” Garell writes:

As an opening to this retrospective, Chris Marker, Never Explain, Never Complain (2016), by Jean-Marie Barbe and Arnaud Lambert, portrays the cinéaste and his works through the testimonies of seven people who knew him and worked with him – including Wim Wenders, Patricio Guzman, and … yours truly, as I had the privilege to collaborate on the production side while working for French Television at INA, La Sept and ARTE, with all the films presented!

Here’s the text from the program on the new bio-essay-doc:

Chris Marker, Never Explain, Never Complain

Jean-Marie Barbe & Arnaud Lambert, France, 2016, 144mn

La vie et l’oeuvre de Chris Marker pourraient remplir plusieurs volumes — même un train de marchandises ! — mais Jean-Marie Barbe et Arnaud Lambert les brossent allègrement en tout juste 144 minutes. En répondant à la question : “Qui est Chris Marker ?”, chacun de leurs interlocuteurs convoquent à chaque fois un univers et des réalités différentes. Comme Wim Wenders, qui s’est saoulé à mort avec Marker dans un bar de Tokyo : “Cette nuit à La Jetée, nous avons parlé, parlé, mais nous avons bu tant de sake et de vodka… que j’ai presque tout oublié”. Ou André S. Labarthe, qui résume : “c’était un esprit libre.” Ce qui est sûr, c’est que tout au long de sa carrière, Marker ne s’est jamais satisfait de n’être qu’un ni de ne faire qu’une seule chose. Écrivain, cinéaste, photographe, érudit, dessinateur, amoureux des chats – on ne saurait le qualifier en un mot. Sinon peut-être : génie.

The life and work of Chris Marker could easily fill several documentary portraits, maybe even several freight trains, but directors Jean-Marie Barbe and Arnaud Lambert have kept it to a brisk 144 minutes. “Who is Chris Marker?” — is the question posed by the directors/interlocutors, and every answer reveals a different reality. Some of the recollections are funny and bittersweet, such as Wim Wenders getting blind drunk with Marker at a bar in Tokyo. “That night at La Jetée is the time when we talked most, but we drank so much sake and vodka that we forgot most of it,” says Wenders. As André S. Labarthe states simply: “He was a free spirit.” One thing is clear, over the length of his career, Marker was never content to do or be only one thing. Writer, filmmaker, photographer, polymath, cartoonist, cat lover — there is no single term that quite suffices. Except, perhaps, genius. -DW

Download Program (PDF)

Check out the DOXA site for more information.

Here’s the page for the Chris Marker retrospective.

According to the DOXA site, “Jean-Marie Barbe is the president of Tënk, the first online platform dedicated solely to auteur documentary. The goal is to provide access to the very best in nonfiction cinema to the widest possible audience. Tënk’s curatorial team of discerning documentary professionals selects films, drawn from festivals, and organizes them thematically.” [source]

Arnaud Lambert is no newcomer to Chris Marker investigations. He is the author of the brilliant, comprehensive volume – in French despite its English title – Also Known as Chris Marker, published in 2013 by LePointduJour.

The Eloquent No of Chris Marker

Letter from Chris Marker to Paul Chan

Direct link to YouTube video: www.youtube.com

In October of 2010, I emailed Chris to ask him if he was interested in taking part in a special issue of eflux journal that the art critic Sven Lütticken and I were editing. The issue focused on whether contemporary art had or had not addressed the rise of right-wing populism in Europe, the US and elsewhere, and how these largely nationalistic, homophobic and xenophobic movements impacted culture and arts. With the ascendency of the Tea Party, Sven and I wondered whether it was possible to chart a genealogy of right-wing groups on both sides of the Atlantic, and to illuminate their familial relations. Anything would do I wrote, I asked Chris – a text, an image, even an animated gif. … Two months later, he replied.

Hi Paul:
Sorry for the delay, I couldn’t have met the deadline anyway. At an age when people care for their eternal salvation or go fishing – which is not incompatible – I have managed to put on my shoulders more daily work than I ever have in my life. But I gave a lot of thought to your proposal, and sadly I must say that it doesn’t make any real sense. For yes, the Tea Party is an isolated event. There’s a mixture of bigotry, estrangement and crass ignorance that is unique in the world, and that is as idiosyncratically American as country music or Kentucky Fried Chicken.

True, there are in Europe movements that are nationalistic, homophobic, xenophobic, etc., and we’re watching their rise with concern. None of them fits the ideological vacuum of the Tea Partiers, characters like Sarah Palin or Glen Beck, who are just as unimaginable in Europe’s politics. In France, the most dangerous leader of the extreme right, Le Pen, a cultured man who can debate geo-political issues on the same level as his opponents. The shroud of religiosity that wraps the whole TP movement, and US politics at large, is something unknown here, where the separation of church and state is the cornerstone of the Republic. Unthinkable to hear a public personality pronounce “So help me God”. Even racism has different roots. It relates here to the colonial empire and the Algerian war, not slavery and Jim Crow, and its expressions are strongly controlled.

I saw plates and badges depicting Obama as a monkey with a banana. Anyone here who would dare use such imagery would be severely punished by law. As if for the main topic of the TPs, the traditional American defiance against central government, it’s in complete contradiction to what the European extreme rightest movements, who without exception are in favor of a stronger state.

I can go on and on like this on practically every characteristic, so the only possible comparison would be at the lowest levels: all are evil, and all include an impressive number of morons. Not much for food, methinks. Sorry for this long explanation of my own inability to participate — all that representing only my private views of course – and no intent on discouraging anyone to push the comparisons deeper and surely better. But well… all I could do was a frank response. Best wishes on the coming year – the Year of the Cat.
Chris Marker, letter to Paul Chan

“Sharp and generous, even when all he’s saying is ‘No.'” – Paul Chan

paul-chan-brooklyn

“What I liked about it was that someone had taken the time to paint and make owl heads on the cats.”

Chris Marker et la photographie

chris-marker-et-la-photographie

What: Journée d’étude | Day of Study

Title: Chris Marker et la photographie | Chris Marker and Photography

Who: Vincent Jacques, avec la participation de | with the participation of:

  • Philippe Bazin
  • Christa Blümlinger
  • Pierre Gaudin
  • Vincent Jacques
  • François Niney
  • Bamchade Pourvali

When: samedi 28 mai 2016 | Saturday May 28th, 2016 – Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA), Salle Vasari | 2, rue Vivienne – 75002 Paris

Additional information at fabula.org: la recherche en littérature & www.ciph.org.

Chris Marker et la photographie

Organisation scientifique : Vincent Jacques (ENSA Versailles / LéaV)

Samedi 28 mai 2016 à 10h

Salle Vasari, Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA), 2 rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris

S’il s’est fait mondialement reconnaître comme cinéaste grâce à des films comme La Jetée, Le fond de l’air est rouge ou Sans Soleil, le cinéma et la vidéo n’épuisent pas la pratique de l’image de Chris Marker. En effet, une constante de son oeuvre consiste en l’usage de la photographie. Entre 1956 où il publie son premier portfolio Clair de Chine dans la revue Esprit et l’exposition Passengers à New York dans les galeries de Peter Blum en 2011, il aura pratiqué le genre à intervalle régulier et publié cinq recueils de photo, Les Coréennes (1959), La Renfermée. La Corse (1981), Le Dépays (1982), Staring Back (2007) et Passengers (2011). Quatre de ces recueils sont accompagnés d’un texte de l’auteur (La Corse est écrit par Marie Susini) : comme c’est le cas dans toute la production de Marker, quel que soit le médium, la photographie participe d’une démarche plus large que l’exploitation d’une seule modalité d’expression.

Notre journée d’étude se propose donc d’aborder l’oeuvre par le biais de la photographie, c’est-à-dire d’étudier le travail photographique de Marker en lui-même et dans le cadre d’une démarche plus générale. Soulignons d’emblée que ce travail n’a jamais vraiment été entrepris, les textes sur Marker étant quasi exclusivement consacrés à ses films tandis que les histoires de la photographie contemporaine font systématiquement l’impasse sur cette part de l’oeuvre. L’approche du travail photographique de Marker se fera selon trois axes. 1- Analyser comment l’auteur brouille la limite entre les genres (cinéma, essai, installation, jeux vidéo…) dans une recherche constante de nouvelles articulations entre l’image et le texte. 2- Étudier comment se construisent les séries de photographies en vue d’écrire et de réécrire en permanence la mémoire du siècle, à la lisière de l’intime et du collectif. 3- Aborder la question du traitement informatique de l’image photographique : quels sont les enjeux des manipulations opérées grâce aux logiciels de retouche numérique qui deviennent la marque de fabrique des dernières photos de Marker ?www.fabula.org

Programme

•10h-10h15 | Accueil des participants
•10h15-11h | Philippe Bazin (École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Dijon) : « Les transports de Chris Marker. À propos de Passengers ».
•11h-11h45 | Christa Blümlinger (Université Paris 8, ESTCA) : « L’attraction du Musée. Notes sur Chris Marker ».
11h45-12h : Pause
•12h-12h45 | Pierre Gaudin (École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles) : « La photographie filmée comme document-matière et document-mémoire chez Chris Marker : prise de vue photographique et montage cinématographique ».
12h45-14h45 : Pause déjeuner
•14h45-15h30 | Vincent Jacques (École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles, LEAV) : « Floue, lisse, pliée : métamorphoses de la photo chez Chris Marker ».
•15h30-16h15 | François Niney (La Fémis, IRCAV) : « Un battement de cil, un battement de coeur : photo animée et photogramme arrêté, le “cinémarker” entre reprise et suspens du temps ».
16h15-16h30 : Pause
•16h30-17h15 | Bamchade Pourvali (Université de Paris Est-Marne la Vallée) : « Philosophie de la photographie et mise en page chez Chris Marker ».
17h30 : Fin de la journée