Category Archives: Purchase

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.

ARTE DVD Release Pairs Mémoires pour Simone and La Solitude de chanteur de fond

memoires-pour-simone-arte

Mémoires pour Simone / La Solitude de chanteur de fond

memoirespoursimone_jaq_modal

deux films de Chris Marker

SIMONE SIGNORET – YVES MONTAND
Deux documentaires uniques sur un couple mythique

MÉMOIRES POUR SIMONE

« Mémoire des lieux. Une salle de projection dans la grande maison d’Autheuil, département de l’Eure : des bobines, des cassettes, des photos, des placards. Ce que l’on vous propose ici, ce n’est pas la vie de Simone, elle l’a racontée mieux que personne dans « La nostalgie… », ce n’est pas sa carrière, d’excellentes émissions de télévision y ont pourvu, c’est le contenu d’un placard, des petits bouts de mémoire en vrac, un voyage à travers les images qu’elle gardait. » nous dit Chris Marker à travers la voix de François Perrier.

Ami et témoin privilégié de la vie de Simone Signoret, parce que leurs chemins n’ont jamais cessé de se croiser depuis qu’ils se sont rencontrés à l’époque du Lycée Pasteur, Chris Marker fera, à la demande du 39ème Festival de Cannes en 1986, le plus beau film-hommage à celle qui disait avoir la nostalgie de la mémoire non partagée.

LA SOLITUDE DU CHANTEUR DE FOND

En février 1974, Yves Montand décide de chanter un soir à l’Olympia, pour les réfugiés chiliens en France. Il n’est pas remonté sur scène depuis 1968, avec le succès de « la bicyclette ». Et il n’a que douze jours pour se préparer…

Informations techniques

PAL- Zone 2 / Coul. / Dolby digital mono/ 16/9 et 4/3
Langues audio : français version originale
Sous-titres : sous-titres sourds et malentendants
Durée film : 122 min.
Durée totale du dvd : 122 min.

More information available at boutique.arte.tv.

English translation of summaries above coming soon.

On Chris Marker’s still-live site GORGOMANCY, the explorer of ambiguous links can find this page, which also pairs the two films and offers them in Flash video format, under the rubric of Elle et Lui: https://gorgomancy.net/elleEtLui.html

Here’s a review of Mémoires pour Simone from a French television airing in 2015 (thanks to this tweet by @sainagasydadabe):

Chris et Simone, Félins Pour l’Autre

Une grande amitié et l’amour des chats les unissaient. En 1986, Chris Marker réalisait un documentaire en hommage à Simone Signoret.

Comme les chiens dans les peintures de Carpaccio, comme la Arte coccinelle dans les planches de Gotlib, les chats abondent dans la filmographie de Chris Marker. De Riri, «héros» de son tout premier film qui n’en était pas vraiment un, bricolé à 10 ans avec des images fixes, au très virtuel Guillaume-en-Egypte (inspiré du nom de son propre chat), son avatar sur Second Life, en passant par le matou mélomane d’un court métrage-haïku Chat écoutant de la musique, en 1990), les statuettes maneki nekos de Sans soleil (en 1983) ou le jaune Monsieur Chat de Chats perchés (en 2004), ils sont partout. Et présents dans sa vie comme ils l’étaient dans celle de Simone Signoret, que Marker rencontra quand ils avaient 15 ans et dont il fut l’indéfectible ami. «On se retrouvait à midi, à la sortie des cours», écrit la comédienne dans La nostalgie n’est plus ce qu’elle était.

A sa mort en 1985, le festival de Cannes proposa au cinéaste de lui rendre un hommage sous forme documentaire. Composé de fragments de films, de propos d’époque et de souvenirs, Mémoires pour Simone donne notamment la parole à César, «chat de maison» qui a chipé son nom au personnage de Montand, amoureux de Rosalie dans le film de Sautet. «Il [le chat] se souvient, y avance Marker par la voix de François Périer, que, pendant le tournage du Chat (Pierre Granier-De-ferre, 1971), “la patronne” faisait un détour pour éviter de croiser son regard. Elle se sentait mauvaise conscience. » C’est qu’elle y jouait le rôle d’«une dame pas gentille du tout avec un chat» et qu’« elle ne voulait pas qu’il sache» !

Figure de la conscience, le gros chat au regard impassible qui surgit dans Mémoires pour Simone évoque aussi la liberté d’esprit et la constance des engagements sur lesquels Marker et Signoret se retrouvèrent souvent. «Jamais un chat n’est du côté du pouvoir», glisse d’ailleurs le cinéaste dans Le fond de l’air est rouge (en 1977) – un film dont le titre américain (A Grin Without a Cat) adresse un clin d’œil au malicieux Chat du Cheshire, qui fait dire à Alice (sous la plume de Lewis Carroll) que l’on a «souvent vu un chat sans sourire [grin, NDLR], mais jamais un sourire sans chat».

Trois ans après sa mort, Marker sourit encore. François Ekchajzer, Télérama, 09-09-15

Soda Pictures Releases 3 DVD Chris Marker Collection in English

Chris Marker Collection, a 3 DVD set of Chris Marker films published to coincide with the Whitechapel exhibition currently running in London, is out! The 3 DVD collection of Chris Marker films was published June 2, 2014 by SODA Film+Art and is now available for purchase. It’s a thrilling addition to Marker’s English-language releases. Without further ado, here are the overall details on the release.

Note: Soda Pictures is now Thunderbird Releasing and here is Thunderbird’s Chris Marker page.

Chris Marker Collection DVD set

Contents

BLU-RAY

  • Sunday in Peking (Dimanche á Pékin, 1956, 22 min)
  • Letter From Siberia (Lettre de Sibérie, 1958, 62 min)

DVD 1

  • Sunday in Peking (Dimanche á Pékin, 1956, 22 min)
  • Letter From Siberia (Lettre de Sibérie, 1958, 62 min)
  • Description of a Struggle (Description d’un combat, 1960, 60 min)

DVD 2

  • The Sixth Side of the Pentagon (La Sixiéme face du Pentagone, 1968, 27 min)
  • The Embassy (L’Ambassade, 1973, 20 min)
  • Theory of Sets (Théorie des ensembles, 1991, 11 min)
  • Three Video Haikus (Trois Vidéo Haikus, 1994, 3 min)
  • Blue Helmet (Casque blue, 1996, 26 min)
  • E-CLIP-SE (1999, 8 min)
  • The Case of the Grinning Cat (Chats perchés, 2004, 59 min)

Blu-Ray tech info: Aspect ratio: 4:3 | Running time: 80 mins. approx. | Audio LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Language English/French with English subtitles S| Region B | Colour | 1080p | 24fps

DVD Tech info: Aspect ratio: 4:3 | DVD 1 Running time: 134 mins. approx. | DVD2 Running time: 154 mins. approx. | PAL
Language English/French with English subtitles | Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Sterio | Region 2 | 1080p | 24fps

Chris Marker Collection - interior

Passion for Words, Madness for Images

This collection of Chris Marker films consists of three works that pre-date La Jetée, the featurette that firmly planted his name as a filmmaker, as well as a series of seven shorter films that span each decade of his career thereafter. These remarkable curios reveal much about him, his ideas and his visuality, as well as his take on the modern world from an artistic point-of-view – from China, Siberia and Israel in the 1950s to the Pentagon, art collectives, cheshire cats, haikus and early new media.

Released in conjunction with a major exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery, London, and with a new piece by writer and curator Chris Darke (Rediscovering Chris Marker), alongside a seminal early piece by Roger Tailleur (Markeriana: A Scarcely Critical Description of the Work of Chris Marker).

Chris Marker Collection DVD 1 - Pentagon

About Soda Film + Art

Soda Film + Art (SoFA) is an international agency that focuses on visual artists working in feature filmmaking. It operates at the nexus of film and art, and acts as a centralized bureau for development, production, sales, distribution and exhibition support. SoFA also has a collectible DVD label, with bespoke packaging that is unique to each title and artist vision, but together forms a cohesive library – and ultimately an overview of what’s happening in art + film today. sodapictures.squarespace.com | www.sodapictures.com/about-us/

Purchase: thunderbirdreleasing.squarespace.com/…

Rediscovering Chris Marker

By 2002, it was evidently no longer enough to describe Marker simply as a ‘filmmaker’; cinema was merely one of the forms into which this prolific artist had channeled his protean creativity. When Marker died in July 2012, aged 91, he left behind an utterly singular body of work. From his first appearance in print as an author in 1946 to his final film, a 60-second ‘trailer’ for the 2012 Vienna film festival, his oeuvre spanned over 65 years and was remarkable in its scope. He designed and edited books, published journalism and essays, as well as a novel and short stories. As a visual artist, he was an accomplished photographer, cartoonist, and multimedia practitioner. But he remains best remembered as a filmmaker, with more than forty-five titles to his name and over thirty more as a commentary-writer or editor.
Chris Darke, “Rediscovering Chris Marker”, Chris Marker Collection booklet, 5

Icarus, Arte and Argos Release Four Chris Marker Films on iTunes

iTunesThe last few years have seen a growing availability of Chris Marker’s films, initially via pirate uploads to YouTube and an underground culture in subtitles, Criterion’s essential pairing of La Jetée and Sans Soleil, then online at streaming sites like MUBI, followed more recently by the great coffret of Planète Marker by Arte (to complement the Pompidou exhibition & retrospective). Other French DVD releases were unveiled, such as the remastered Le Joli Mai (Arte again), Argos’ Level Five, Lettre de Sibérie and Dimanche à Pékin, and the remastered Loin de Vietnam (Arte). Icarus had also done a great job with Grin Without a Cat, Remembrance of Things to Come, The Case of the Grinning Cat, The Last Bolshevik and The Sixth Side of the Pentagon.

Still, English speakers had discovered and embraced Marker, and wanted more. Then came Whitechapel. The current exhibition in London has prompted the box set of films by Soda Pictures, a most welcome release just shy of a month away. And now news has surfaced of the release on iTunes of some key Marker films, the details of which are below. It is said of American tourists that the first thing they ask of hotels in Paris is a WiFi connection, so it is fitting that we get – setting aside the indispensable Criterion & Icarus releases – our media via broadband. Before too long and before any eschatelogical events, we hope to have within reach of our eyes and ears a more complete collection of the many masterpieces by Marker, in English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Hungarian, Tibetan, Mongolian… Prais the digital dieties and the Babel of languages and enjoy!

Please note: all plot summaries below reproduced from Apple’s site. Sosume.

Class of Struggle

itunes.apple.com…class-of-struggle
Note:No longer available

Plot Summary

Class of StruggleIn 1967, Chris Marker and Mario Marret (under the aegis of SLON) produced À Bientôt J’espère, which documented a strike and factory occupation—the first in France since 1936—by textile workers at the Rhodiaceta textile plant in Besançon, the goals of which prefigured many of the demands that would come to define May 1968. Many of the Rhodiaceta workers who had collaborated with Marker and Marret on the film were unhappy with the final production. In response, Marker and other SLON filmmakers reorganized their efforts to begin training workers to collaboratively produce their own films under the name “The Medvedkin Group,” after the Russian filmmaker Marker would later memorialize in The Last Bolshevik. Class of Struggle is their first production. Picking up in Besançon a year after the events depicted in À Bientôt J’espère, the film focuses on agitation by workers at the Yema Watch Factory, particularly the efforts of one recently radicalized worker, Suzanne Zedet. Zedet describes her political activity, and the punishments issued in response by the factory management. She also articulates the radical scope of her and her fellow workers’ demands, which go beyond higher wages and better benefits, and reflect a desire to reorganize the country’s economy and social order. One of those demands is access to culture and to the tools of cultural production. The film itself is one attempt to meet this demand, and we see the workers editing and developing film under a banner that reads: “Cinema is not magic; it is a technique and a science, a technique born from science and put in service of a will: the will of workers to liberate themselves.” One of the most radical films produced in an era defined by radicalism, Class of Struggle reflects this will to liberation.

Far From Vietnam

Distributor: Icarus Films
itunes.apple.com…far-from-vietnam

Plot Summary

Initiated and edited by Chris Marker, Far from Vietnam is an epic 1967 collaboration between cinema greats Jean-Luc Godard, Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, and Alain Resnais in protest of American military involvement in Vietnam – made, per Marker’s narration, “to affirm, by the exercise of their craft, their solidarity with the Vietnamese people in struggle against aggression.” A truly collaborative effort, the film brings together an array of stylistically disparate contributions, none individually credited, under a unified editorial vision. The elements span documentary footage shot in North and South Vietnam and at anti-war demonstrations in the United States; a fictional vignette and a monologue that dramatize the self-interrogation of European intellectuals; interviews with Fidel Castro and Anne Morrison, widow of Norman Morrison, the Quaker pacifist who burned himself alive on the steps of the White House in 1965; an historical overview of the conflict; reflections from French journalist Michèle Ray; and a range of repurposed media material. Passionately critical and self-critical, and as bold in form as it is in rhetoric, Far from Vietnam is a milestone in political documentary and in the French cinema.

La Jétee

itunes.apple.com…la-jetee
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. Marker’s La Jetée is one of the most influential, radical science-fiction films ever made, a tale of time travel told in still images.

Le Joli Mai

itunes.apple.com…le-joli-mai

Plot Summary

Le Joli Mai is a portrait of Paris and Parisians during May 1962. It is a film with several thousand actors including a poet, a student, an owl, a housewife, a stockbroker, competitive dancer, two lovers, General de Gaulle and several cats.Filmed just after the March ceasefire between France and Algeria, Le Joli Mai documents Paris during a turning point in French history: the first time since 1939 that France was not involved in any war. Part I, “A Prayer from the Eiffel Tower,” documents personal attitudes and feelings around Paris. A salesman feels free only when he is driving his car, and then only if there is not too much traffic. A working-class mother of eight has just gotten the larger apartment that she had been wanting for years. The space capsule of American astronaut John Glenn is examined by a group of admiring children. Two investors talk about their careers and adventures. A couple who have been in love since their teens discuss the possibility of eternal happiness. At a middle class wedding banquet, the guests are raucous while the bride is quiet, dignified and reserved. Part II, “The Return of Fantomas,” is an investigation of the political and social life of the city. Marker and Lhomme alternate between public events and private discussions: the former focusing on the Algerian situation, such as a funeral for people killed in Paris street demonstrations after the Algerian settlement. Meanwhile, the latter includes a conversation with two girls about the state of France; a meeting with a pair of engineers who describe the potential of the current technological revolution; an African student who discusses his own response to the French and the Parisians’ reaction to his skin color; a worker-priest forced to choose between the Church and his fellow workers; and an Algerian worker describing conflict he has experienced with native Frenchmen. The film ends with sweeping views of Paris, the façades of its prisons, and the faces of its people as they struggle to make sense of their moment in history.

§

After publishing this post, I read the reflections of on bfi.org.uk in the article “The owl’s legacy: in memory of Chris Marker“, by Catherine Lupton, Thom Andersen, Chris Petit, Jem Cohen, John Gianvito, Patrik Keller, Sarah Turner, Kudwo Eshun, José Luis Guerin and Agnès Varda. A thought of Thom Anderson’s struck me in relation to the distribution of Marker’s films in the US. It goes against the grain of this celebratory post, as does our first comment regarding the lack of availability of the iTunes releases in the UK. Here is Mr. Anderson’s thoughts, thoughts that make one wonder about the political backdrop of Marker’s limited presentation in this country historically:

I only had that one chance to see A Valparaiso projected. I’ve never had a chance to see most of his films, and others only many years after their original release. The political censorship we face in the United States has allowed only his more melancholy films, such as Sans Soleil, to pass, while stopping his optimistic films, such as Sunday in Peking, If I Had Four Camels and Cuba Sí!. Others were delayed until their usefulness had vanished.

I read a review of Le fond de l’air est rouge in Variety in 1977; I first saw it in 2002, when it was finally released in the US with a new title, A Grin Without a Cat, that reversed the connotations of the original. The grin is the armed revolutionary vanguard, and the cat is the people. The disillusioned leftist has for many years been a sympathetic figure in American culture. Marker, of course, didn’t choose this role – it was falsely imposed on him in the US by selective sampling of his work.Thom Anderson

Chris Marker holding small award

Chris Marker English DVD Box Set Coming Soon

Soda PicturesI do have my RSS spies out there, my Google and Talkwalker alerts, but it was a real live human being – the awesome Fenn Brown – who informed me of this Chris Marker news. To wit: a 3 DVD collection of Marker films, going back to Sunday in Peking, passing through the essential Letter to Siberia and Description of a Struggle, and finishing up with The Case of the Grinning Cat are being published by Soda Pictures in the UK (no mention on their site of this that I could find). There are also some surprises like E-CLIP-SE and Theory of Sets. The wait for some of these has stretched on for decades, so I’m sure there is a healthy appetite for both the hors d’oeuvres and the main courses! Youtube, of course, has provided some sustenance in the meantime…
Blue-ray.com

Message Body:
Hello – You may know of this release already but could not see any details on your fine site by searching …

https://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=13767

“The Chris Marker Collection” – out 2nd June, maybe?

CONTENT:

Sunday In Peking (Dimanche à Pékin, 1956) (also on Blu-Ray)
Letter To Siberia (Lettre de Sibérie, 1958) (also on Blu-Ray)
Description Of A Struggle (Description d’un combat, 1960)
The Sixth Side Of The Pentagon (La Sixième face du Pentagone, 1968)
The Embassy (L’Ambassade, 1973)
Theory Of Sets (Théorie des ensembles, 1991)
Three Video Haikus (Trois Video Haikus, 1994)
Blue Helmet (Casque bleu, 1996)
E-CLIP-SE (1999)
The Case Of The Grinning Cat (Chats Perchés, 2004)

Spec Aspect ratio: 4:3
BD running time: 80 mins approx
DVD1 running time: 134 mins approx
DVD2 running time: 154 mins approx
English/French with English subtitles

Best wishes,
Fenn

Pre-order is available on www.amazon.co.uk for £20.74. Region is B/2; Aspect Ratio 4:3 – 1.33:1; Number of discs: 3; Studio: Soda Pictures; DVD Release Date: 2 June 2014.

Soda Pictures was not a name familiar to me. Perusing their online catalog, however, revealed some familiar directors. Their catalog includes the following noteworthy films:

  • Close-Up by Abbas Kiarostami
  • Hannah Arendt by Margerethe Von Trotta
  • Klimt by Raul Ruiz
  • La Danse by Frederick Wiseman
  • Little Dieter Needs to Fly; The Wild Blue Yonder & Wheel of Time by Werner Herzog
  • Moloch by Alexander Sokurov
  • Museum Hours by Jem Cohen
  • Only Lovers Left Alive by Jim Jarmusch
  • Patience (After Sebald) by Grant Gee
  • Strayed by André Téchiné
  • Tetro by Francis Ford Coppola
  • The Cuckoo by Aleksandr Rogozhkin
  • The Thorn in the Heart by Michel Gondry
  • Wadjda by Haifaa Al-Mansour

More on the Marker release as more is revealed, and thanks again to Fenn.

Today, the day after the post, I received a nice note from filmaker Gareth Evans confirming this release:

We nudged Soda to do this as it is designed explicitly to tie in with the Whitechapel show. Chris [Darke] is doing the sleeve essay. They also released Patience (after Sebald), very much inspired by Marker, which we both worked on. Due out 2 June.Gareth Evans

For an update on the release, see the subsequent post Soda Releases 3 DVD Chris Marker Collection in English.

Happy Birthday Chris Marker!

We would like to invite all visitors—Marker admirers worldwide—to wish Chris Marker a Happy Birthday / Bon Anniversaire. Tomorrow, on July 29th, 2010, he will turn 89. It is indescribable what he has accomplished and continues to accomplish, but we can hope to convey a feeling, a set of feelings: celebration, admiration, and heartfelt wishes for health & many more moments of happiness (hold the black leader).

We also wish to acknowledge a celebratory discount to mark this occasion on the part of the always gracious Wexner Center Store:

In honor of Chris Marker’s 89th birthday, the Wexner Center Store is discounting all items in the Chris Marker Store 20%.

bon anniversaire chris markerSale starts at 12am CEST (Central European Summer Time) and ends 11:59pm EST (Eastern Standard Time) July 29, 2010.

Because of the time difference between Paris and Columbus the sale will last 30 hours.

The Chris Marker Store page is located at: store.wexnercenterstore.com/chrismarkerstore1.html.

Cheers! Please leave comments below expressing your thoughts, feelings, regards, reflections on this remarkable polymath, bricoleur, cinéaste, photographer, human being.