Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory

To Chris Marker, An Unsent Letter by Emiko Omori


This is the trailer for Emiko Omori’s film homage to Chris Marker, a letter that has been in transit and has finally arrived.

The film’s own website is located at In the About the Film section on the homepage, the following citation is presented:

A collective cinematic love letter to the elusive French filmmaker Chris Marker in documentary form, Emiko Omori’s timely film captures the persona of a filmmaker who is at once both contradictorily present in and distant from his body of work. Notoriously private, self-described as the “best known author of unknown works,” Marker is widely known for a few key cinematic works such as LA JETÉE (1963) and SANS SOLEIL (1983), but his wider filmography remains undiscovered. Through interviews with Marker’s many colleagues and admirers, Omori lovingly describes a man whose preference for personal privacy has rendered him perhaps cinema’s most famous enigma: a man who is his works. Marker’s films have affected many, both those who know him personally and those who only know him through his films. Omori pays tribute to the legendary and ephemeral filmmaker, the “cat who walks by himself,” Chris Marker.
– Samuel B. Prime Melnitz Movies Director


I must confess to having put off the viewing of this cinematic letter to Chris Marker, as I have never been comfortable seeing myself in video. I used to work at a place called Interval Research Corporation, an adventurous think tank with a strong focus on R&D, in Palo Alto in the mid-90s. Interval was graced with close connections to Stanford University and a generous budget extended by the owner-founder Paul Allen, the other co-founder of Microsoft who had strong interests in music and GenX tastes. It was the perfect job for an ABD confronted at a relatively late age with the real world. Well, Interval was not the real world either, but it was also not an ivory tower. It was a transitional zone. We shot a lot of footage at Lollapalooza concerts during the summer of 1994. I was making the transition from being a graduate student – the ultimate alibi – to working in a high tech environment, and was exposed each day to the wonders of what the best and the brightest of Silicon Valley were thinking about and tinkering with… Hundreds and hundreds of hours of video captured the concert goers, who also visited a full-scale multimedia tent produced by Interval – a tent full of machinic wonders, with computers masked in carnival-themed high art enclosures presenting the state of the art in digital interactivity, in the very nascent cracked egg chicklet emergence days of the Internet. I logged many of these tapes, marking events and statements and working with my team to develop essais of logging systems for real-time extraction of content from video (still a puzzle today). I cringed whenever I saw myself captured on tape (I was a market research interviewer, photographer and builder of a subsequent website). But I care very much for Emiko, as she cared for Chris, and now have finally in my hands a copy of her long route traversed letter on DVD. No more excuses. I will watch it now.

Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory
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