Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory

Chris Marker, les 7 vies d’un cinéaste – Table ronde

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Last Updated on January 16, 2021 by bricoleur

During the multi-faceted exhibition and retrospective of the work of Chris Marker presented by the Cinémathèque française, conversational events such as the one presented here were scheduled as well. In this round table with a square table, and maybe more appropriately directors' chairs, Christine van Assche, Raymond Bellour, and Jean-Michel Frodon sit with Bernard Benoliel and Florence Tissot to discuss the seven lives of a filmmaker, Chris Marker's myriad cat lives to be exact. The context: the screening of Marker's chef-d'oeuvre Sans Soleil.

Raymond Bellour

It is certainly a rare pleasure to see Bellour, who has done so much to rethink cinema and Marker's work, in particular, exploring the rupture and eruption of audio-visual genre classification, the film as text, and the epistemological situation of the spectator. Bellour has mapped the boundary-crossing innovations of video and installations, and explored as well the philosophical strides made by two books on cinema published by Gilles Deleuze, whose eclectic, electric, ever-inspiring percepts and concepts on space and time proved to be an enormous influence on Bellour. But Bellour has inspired many others in turn and has come a long way since his seminal textbook L'Analyse du film, when he was associated more tightly with the film semiotician Christian Metz.1

Raymond Bellour, Between-the-Images book cover
Raymond Bellour, Between-the-Images

Bellour, who promised Marker early on— during the Seuil days when science fiction accouterments hung from the ceiling of Marker's office from which he directed the Petite Planète travel book series— to never write a book about him, has instead written a whole series of articles that we hope to see collected in a set someday. Bellour's seminal book L'Entre-images finally appeared recently in English as Between-the-Images. His other books include L'Entre-images 2 (1999); Partages de l'ombre (2002), Le Corps du cinéma (2009), La Querelle des dispositifs (2002), and Pensées du cinéma (2016). He also edited the Pléiade edition of the collected works of Henri Michaux, a heteroclite, astonishing writer whom Marker admired a great deal.

Christine Van Assche

Christine van Assche has worked tirelessly as an archivist, media archeologist, and exhibition designer for film, video and multimedia installations and exhibitions, with a focus on Marker across several decades, initially at the Centre Pompidou, later for the Whitechapel exhibit, and here for the Cinémathèque française (Chris Marker: L'Homme-monde). From 1984 to 2015, she commissioned exhibitions on Thierry Kuntzel, Nam June Paik, Marcel Odenbach, Tony Oursler, Gary Hill, Stan Douglas, Mona Hatoum, James Coleman, Johan Grimonprez, Douglas Gordon, Bruce Nauman, Pierre Huyghe, Mike Kelly/Tony Oursler, Ugo Randinone, Isaac Julien, David Clearbout, and Mona Hatoum. She worked with Bellour and Catherine David in 1990 on Passages de l'image. Meeting Marker in 1986, she worked with him on Zapping Zone, and a series of works gathered loosely under the title “Interactive Television.” After Marker's death, Van Assche organized an exposition hommage to his entire work called Planète Marker, presented also at the Centre Pompidou.

Jean-Michel Frodon

Born Jean-Michel Billard, he writes with a pseudonym borrowed from Frodo of The Lord of the Rings. He has a master's degree and a DEA in history. He worked as an educator from 1971 to 1981. Next, he was a photographer from 1981 to 1985. In 1983, he became a journalist and film critic for the weekly periodical Le Point, of which his father, Pierre Billard, also a journalist and a film critic, was one of the founders and chief editors. He held this post until 1990.

He took over the same functions at the daily newspaper Le Monde in 1990 and in 1995, he became responsible for the daily film column. In 2003 he became head editor of Cahiers du cinéma. After leaving in 2009, he writes the blog Projection publique on the website slate.fr.

In 2001 he founded L'Exception, the think tank about cinema. Has been teaching at Pantheon-Sorbonne University and École Normale Supérieure, currently teaches at Sciences Po Paris.

Footnotes

  1. Metz' The Imaginary Signifier: Psychoanalysis and the Cinema (1982) and Film Language: A Semiotics of the Cinema (1974) influenced a whole generation of feminist film scholars—Laura Mulvey, Jacqueline Rose, Theresa de Lauretis, Bracha L. Ettinger, Kaja Silverman, Annette Kuhn, and Marie-Claire Ropars-Wuilleumier.

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Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory
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