Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory

CategoryPacific Film Archive

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...

Level Five: Filmnotes @ PFA + argos/arte


Pacific Film Archive Notes A woman, a computer, an invisible contact: this is where Marker’s new film begins. Laura’s job is to design a video game based on the battle of Okinawa, a tragedy little known in the West but which played a determining role in the outcome of World War II, in the postwar period, and even in our own day. But unlike classic strategy games, where the goal is to change the course of history, the aim of this game is to recreate the...

The Owl’s Legacy: Filmnotes @ PFA

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The Owl’s Legacy Chris Marker (France, 1989) Parts 1, 2 and 3 (L’héritage de la chouette). Athena’s Owl “He must have been a royal pain in the ass. It’s just unbearable to have a man like that in a city.” This is how George Steiner describes Socrates in one of the many provocative moments in Chris Marker (Sans Soleil)’s latest “cultural documentary,” a television series based on Greek culture and its rich, often...

Loin de Vietnam: Filmnotes @ PFA


Far from Vietnam Jean-Luc Godard, Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, Chris Marker, Alain Resnais, Agnès Varda (France, 1967). Rarely shown in its entirety, Far from Vietnam is a unique collaboration by seven noted directors that, incredibly, looks like a unified work. Much of the credit for this goes to Chris Marker, who put it all together. But there was also a team spirit created by the situation in Vietnam that led the artists to want to speak out...

The Lonliness of a Long-Distance Singer: Filmnotes @ PFA


A finely crafted film by the unique film-poet, Chris Marker, The Loneliness Of A Long-Distance Singer aims to convey two aspects of the actor/singer Yves Montand: his political conviction and his artistic integrity. In February 1974, Montand agreed to prepare in one week a performance of some of his best-known songs for the benefit of the Chilean refugees after Allende’s overthrow. In this remarkable film, we see the anxious tension, the moments of...

The Koumiko Mystery: Filmnotes @ PFA


The Koumiko Mystery (La Mystère Koumiko) Marker studies a young Japanese woman, wandering about Tokyo during the 1964 Olympic games, asking her questions about how she feels about herself and the world. Koumiko comments vaguely on her feelings of separation from people and animals, of drifting with the tide of an anxious world. Amid the transience of a futuristic World’s Fair-like atmosphere, Marker may exoticize Koumiko’s ancient beauty but the...

Lettre de Sibérie: Filmnotes @ PFA


Letter from Siberia (Lettre de Sibérie) Chris Marker’s ethnographic essay-documentary on Siberia, made in 1957, remains fresh and relevant today. Combining fantasy animation (of woolly mammoths and mammoth buildings) and documentary photography shot by Sacha Vierny, Marker displays above all his amazement at the diversity of Siberia, at once almost pre-historic and post-revolutionary. On the film’s revival at the 1982 New York Film Festival, Village...

Les Statues meurent aussi: Filmnotes @ PFA

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Marker & Alain Resnais Direct: Statues Also Die (Les Statues Meurent Aussi) “This is a profoundly humanistic study of African art and its decline under colonialism, introducing two themes that have remained central in Marker’s work-the belief that all great human societies represent a victory over adversity and posit a view of man as potential ‘master of the world’; and the belief that such mastery is only possible if man is at one with...

Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory
metro laughing woman staring back