L’essai : vues d’Allemagne, la fabrique documentaire

L'essai : vues d'Allemagne from la fabrique documentaire on Vimeo.

This essay film on ‘views’ of the essay film in Germany begins with the unmistakable, raspy and wise voice of Gilles Deleuze, and quickly launches into a rapid montage of moments of meta, showing and letting the showing speak, while adding voices but not an authorial voice per se, rather quoted voices – just as cinematic citation pulls clips out of context so does the audio editing. But everything was de-contextualized already, and perhaps it is not a loss of context we see in the meta-cinema movement, but a constant churning of recontextualization, never complete but less prone to the voice of the deus ex machina. The auteur recedes like the tide, and the collective works like ants or bees, collectively of course, behind the scenes. How refreshing not to have a central figure to lionize or demonize, to put on a pedestal. And yet, there is nostalgia for the total statement, the touch of genius, the auteur herself nonetheless. An ambivalence creeps in to the plethora of video essays we have been witness to of late, emerging like California wildfires as cinema wraps around itself and the pedagogic impulse, from professorial to journalistic, learns the tools of montage. The caméra-stylo triumphant, but awash too in a potential sea of banality. Who will emerge as the master of this new wave of essay film/video, if anyone? Do we need heros anymore? Do we need genius? Perhaps these questions are beside the point, and the real thesis is that now we can treat the film as text, something that Bellour always argued against. Not in a book, but in another film can this stratagem succeed, perhaps. Gutenberg slumbers on… The thesis can be lost as the particulars, the instances of speech and moving image as signs accumulate. Have we fallen out of the temptation of the essay to have a thesis at all, as taught relentlessly to students globally, or are we merely acceding to the impulses of the essai sauvage – the wild essay form, beginning in media res and spiraling around its ultimate thematic monads, unrushed, expansive – as born in the tower of Montaigne?

Chateau de Montaigne

La fabrique documentiare

Depuis 2005, la fabrique documentaire* produit, réalise, programme et diffuse des œuvres documentaires (audio, vidéo, livre, web, exposition…), en explorant de nouvelles façons d’écrire et de partager.

Nos productions, initiatives personnelles ou travaux de commande, engagent des points de vue d’auteurs. La fabrique documentaire privilégie les projets qui lui semblent de nature à nourrir la pensée, voire à infléchir le réel.

* En 2015, Radiofonies Europe devient la fabrique documentaire.
la fabrique documentaire

Ghost Cat: Postcards + Exhibitions

cm-postcard-cimitiere-chat

Card 5 of 15
Roma, 1956

Chris Marker, Image from Staring Back
May 12-August 12, 2007
Exhibition organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Ohio State University

FYI, there are two postcard sets by Chris Marker that I know of. This set is from Wexner and is, I believe, out of print.

The other is Chris Marker, How a grinning cat visits the HISTORY OF ART, 10 Postcards, Peter Blum Editions. This production, to my knowledge, is also no longer available. I’ll see if I can get them into a gallery here soon, as they are replete with classic Markerian wit and digital détournement.

While the cards are not to be found on the Peter Blum site (peterblumgallery.com), it is well worth exploring the whole Chris Marker section, which includes Images, Exhibitions, Books, Press and Biography pages – the last containing a filmography, bibliographies, exhibition lists and more. The Biography section includes an exhaustive listing of Chris Marker exhibitions that I have yet to see appear on traditional filmographies or bibliographies:

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2014

“Koreans”, Peter Blum Gallery, New York

“Crow’s Eye View: the Korean Peninsula”, Korean Pavilion, Giardini di Castello, Venice, Italy

“Chris Marker: A Grin Without a Cat”, Whitechapel Gallery, London, England; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, October 21, 2014 – January 11, 2015; Lunds Konsthall, Lund, February 7 – April 5, 2015

“The Hollow Men,” City Gallery Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

2013

“Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte”, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA & the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

“Memory of a Certain Time”, ScotiaBank, Toronto, Canada

“Chris Marker”, Atelier Hermès, Seoul, South Korea

The “Planète Marker”, Centre de Pompidou, Paris

2012

“Chris Marker: Films and Photos”, Moscow Photobiennale, Moscow, Russia

2011

“PASSENGERS”, Peter Blum Gallery Chelsea / Peter Blum Gallery Soho, New York, New York

Les Rencontres d’Arles de la Photographie, Arles, France

“PASSENGERS”, Centre de la Photographie, Geneva, Switzerland

Thinking Hands, Beijing, China

2009

“Quelle heure est-elle?”, Peter Blum Gallery Chelsea, New York, New York

“Second Life” (May 16 a one night event), Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, Massachusetts

“Chris Marker: Par quatre chemins”, Beirut Art Center, Lebanon

2008

“Abschied vom Kino / Farewell to Movies”, Museum fur Gegenwartkunst, Zurich, Switzerland

“Abschied vom Kino / A Farewell to Movies”, virtual museum, Second Life

Un Choix de Photographies, Galerie de France, Paris, France

2007

“Staring Back,” Peter Blum Gallery, New York, New York

“Staring Back”, Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

“The Case of the Grinning Cat”, Film Forum, New York, New York

“Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men”, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia

2006

“The Hollow Men,” Dazibao Centre de Photographies Actuelles, Montreal, Canada

“The Hollow Men”,Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, Toronto, Canada

2005

“Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men”, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York

“Through the Eyes of Chris Marker”, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, China

“Through the Eyes of Chris Marker”, Macao Cultural Centre, Macao, China

2003

“Rare Videos by Chris Marker,” Anthology Film Archives, New York, New York

2002

“Chris Marker”, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

1999

“Silent Movie and Selected Screenings”,Beaconsfield, London, England

“Chris Marker”, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, Spain

“Chris Marker”, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, Spain

1997

“Immemory One,” Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

1996

“Silent Movie,” Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

1995

“Silent Movie”, Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

“Silent Movie”, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York

“Silent Movie”, Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, California

Peter Blum Gallery, Chris Marker, Exhibitions – Download PDF

One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich by Chris Marker

Chris Marker writes what is reproduced below in extreme modesty, given the depth of his film: its astute insights into Tarkovsky’s film language & signature motifs, its palpable emotional presence that embues the intimate family scenes, his empathetic camera and commentary. He is not an outsider here; he is family too in Tarkovsky’s largesse as Marker captures a home movie of the reunion of Andrei Arsenevich’s family after five years of implacable bureaucracy – and the nostalghia that forms the atmosphere of exile.

The text appears on the back cover of the US DVD containing his and two other films, Sergey Dvortsevoy’s In the Dark and Marina Goldovskaya’s Three Songs About Motherland, which he places on the DVD with equality and a view to expanding the awareness of contemporary US audiences regarding Russian filmmaking. We know, though, for him, Tarkovsky is in a league of his own. In person, Marker referred to him simple as “le maître.”

We add after Marker’s text the summary of the film given by Icarus Films on their site. More material, more quotes will follow, in the minor-key, unsung tradition of bricolage.

THREE SONGS ABOUT MOTHERLAND, the title of Marina Goldovskaya’s inspired wandering throughout her country, could have been used as a general title for this DVD. Each of us in his manner sings the paean or the doom of a place on Earth that defies any rational grasp.

I had the easiest task. Entering Tarkovsky’s world carries you within a sumptuous chorale, a multivoiced fugue that encompasses all that’s Russian. Marina, since years, pursued a patient pilgrimage home, with her unique gift to mix with people and extract the best of them. As for Sergey Dvortsevoy and his blind man, he illuminates the Russian way to embody what has been since Antiquity the natural hobby of sightlessness: prophecy.

The night Stalin died, I was on Times Square, beside another blind man: Moondog, the musician. I couldn’t help feeling something metaphorical in this confrontation between blindness and history. There we were, like the apes at the beginning of Kubrick’s “2001”, facing an opaque, indecipherable monolith. So is the blind man in his basement, facing the enigma of an opaque, indecipherable country which he manages to graze with the help of his companion the cat, the creature who sees what even the seers don’t see.

Sometimes we come to the conclusion that Mother Russia just can’t be analyzed, criticized, dismantled, explained: too complex, too brutal, too elusive, too paradoxical, too cavorting… Sometimes even, to my dismay, she can’t be loved. But still, yes, she can be sung.
Chris Marker, back cover of DVD, One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich

Tarkovsky and Chris Marker on set of The Sacrifice

Through film clips, journal entries, and personal musings, ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF ANDREI ARSENEVICH is renowned French filmmaker Chris Marker’s homage to his friend and colleague, Andrei Tarkovsky, who died in 1986.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century, and certainly the most important post-War Russian filmmaker, Andrei Tarkovsky has achieved a mythic status with such visionary masterpieces as Andrei Rublev, Solaris and Stalker. His stylistic idiosyncrasies: minimal plots, fragmented narrative, and long takes have become staples of the modern art film. His confrontations with the Soviet government, the censorship of his films, and his eventual exile only contributed to his mystique.

Through close readings of Tarksovsky’s films – including rare scenes from his student film (an adaptation of Hemingway’s The Killers) and a practically unknown production of Boris Goudonov – Marker attempts to locate Tarkovsky in his work. Parallels drawn by Marker between Tarkovksy’s life and films offer an original insight into the reclusive director. Personal anecdotes from Tarkovsky’s writings – from his prophetic meeting with Boris Pasternak (author of Dr. Zhivago) to an encounter with the KGB on the streets of Paris (he thought they were coming to kill him) – pepper the film.

With behind-the-scenes footage of Tarkovsky obsessively commanding his entire crew (including famed Bergman cinematographer Sven Nykvist, during the filming of a complicated sequence from his final film The Sacrifice), and candid moments of Tarkovsky with his friends and family, bedridden but still working on the editing of his final film, ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF ANDREI ARSENEVICH is a personal and loving portrait of the monumental filmmaker.

“**** (4 stars). A masterpiece! Marker’s ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF ANDREI ARSENEVICH [is] the best single piece of Tarkovsky criticism I know of, clarifying the overall coherence of his oeuvre while leaving all the mysteries of his films intact. The video interweaves biography and autobiography with poetic and political insight in a manner that seldom works as well as it does here.”
—Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

“A brilliant appreciation of the last great Soviet director, Andrei Tarkovsky. No less then Jean-Luc Godard or Martin Scorsese, Marker is an original and perceptive exegete of other filmmakers…. The most sustained and heartfelt tribute one filmmaker has paid another.”
—Jim Hoberman, Village Voice

“A sublime meditation on the poetic, surreal universe of Tarkovsky.”
—Los Angeles Times

“Fascinating! What makes Chris Marker’s documentary such an invaluable gift is that his insights into the director are so accessible – and so provocative. Not only is it a remarkable analysis of Tarkvosky’s brilliance; it’s also a showcase for Marker’s.”
—Time Out New York

“A superb analysis of Tarkovsky’s lyrical vocabulary. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more thorough explication of Tarkovsky’s vision than the one provided by Marker here.”
—Dallas Observer

“A film that defies categorization as a documentary, or even as a ‘film essay’ …A love letter is more like it: personal, passionate, unguarded. The meat of the film is a dazzling montage, drawn mostly from Tarkovsky’s work, but reorganized into illuminating new patterns… inspiring us to make our own observations and connections.”
—LA Weekly

“Even those of us who find Tarkovsky’s films more tedious than tantalizing will appreciate the care and love that went into this reflection on the man and his work. I can’t remember any film capturing an artist more intimately…”
—Detroit Free Press

“Chris Marker’s informative tribute to the late Andrei Tarkovsky is an important contribution to film scholarship.”
—Variety

“Chris Marker’s ‘One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevitch’ is perhaps the best film yet made by one (great) film-maker about another. A revelatory document, loving, lucid and lyrical, on the elemental structuring of Tarkovsky’s work, it marries moving footage of the terminally ill director shooting and struggling to finish his final film ‘The Sacrifice’ with an exemplary assessment of the films and their importance, humane, humble and always open. In its own essential way, it too is a masterpiece.”
—Gareth Evans, The Andrei Tarkovsky Companion

2001 DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival
2000 Berlin Film Festival
2000 San Francisco Film Festival
2000 Toronto Film Festival
2000 Telluride Film Festival

Icarus Films

Philippe Dubois, “La Jetée de Chris Marker ou le cinématogramme de la conscience”

Philippe Dubois presenting on La Jetée

I’m seaching still for the full text of this presentation, published in Théorème 6: Recherches sur Chris Marker (Paris, Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2002), and whose table of contents were published here a while back. Hopefully it might be available still somewhere, as it contains a great selection of texts on Marker. An excerpt follows, and then a link to the presentation (no embed code was available).

“La Jetée” de Chris Marker ou le cinématogramme de la conscience, Philippe Dubois

Philippe Dubois (Université Sorbonne – Paris III) : « La Jetée est donc ce film que Chris Marker réalisa en 1962. C’est un court métrage de “seulement” 29 minutes. (On a souvent fait remarquer que Chris Marker – il a les initiales de court métrage – n’avait quasiment jamais fait de film “normal” en termes de durée : des courts ou des [très] longs. Cela ne veut certes rien dire, sinon que chez lui le temps n’est pas un “standard”, qu’il ne se mesure pas, qu’il est chose infiniment extensible, et vertigineux.) Ce film, court donc, mais qui raconte toute la vie d’un homme en la condensant dans un instant-image paradoxal, ce film-vertige du temps est et reste absolument singulier, autant que mythique. C’est, si l’on veut, le seul film de fiction (et même de science-fiction) dans l’œuvre de Marker. À mes yeux, il se présente, avec une intensité remarquable, à la fois comme un acte théorique, une sorte de film-pensée articulant des modèles conceptuels complexes (du temps, de l’espace, de la représentation, de la vie psychique), et comme une pure œuvre, non une illustration d’un enjeu conceptuel, mais une création d’une force vive encore aujourd’hui irrésistible, sans équivalent, et qui finit par emporter toute théorie. C’est à ce double titre que cette œuvre m’intéresse et me fascine, comme elle a fasciné et intéressé plus d’une génération de théoriciens autant que de créateurs, son propre auteur compris : “La Jetée est le seul de mes films dont j’ai plaisir à apprendre la projection”, aime à dire Chris Marker. »
www.zintv.org

Philippe Dubois, presentation of paper “La Jetée de Chris Marker ou le cinématogramme de la conscience” – Video

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 [email protected]):

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

Ricardo Greene, Iván Pinto Publish La Zona Marker

la-zona-marker

I received an email from Ricardo Greene with news of a new, important book on Chris Marker in Spanish: La Zona Marker The book is published by Ediciones FIDOCS (Culdoc series) in Santiago, Chile. It presents a collection of essays by Ricardo Green, Iván Pinto, Patricio Guzmán (“Lo que debo a Chris Marker”), Trevor Stark, Carolina Anaral de Aguiar, Chris Marker himself (“El ùltimo bolchevique”), Maria Paz Peirano, Maria Luisa Ortega, Gonzalo De Lucas, Eduardo A. Russo, Raymond Bellour (“Marker Forever” in its first Spanish translation), and Wolfgang Bongers. More information is available on the FIDOCS site at https://www.fidocs.cl/2013/06/18/la-zona-marker/. According to CinemaChile.cl, Ricardo Greene is a director, sociologist and visual anthropologist, and was the director of the 17th version of FIDOCS, a film festival founded by Patrizio Guzman.

The only other book on Marker in Spanish that I know of is Chris Marker Inmemoria, published by Ambulante Ediciones in 2013, edited by Maria Fortes and Lorena Gómez Mostajo, and published in Mexico. I will present the table of contents for that volume in a separate post. Note: Christophe Chazalon wrote me post-post, pointing to some other Spanish language publications on Marker, as listed on this page of chrismarker.ch (section “en espanol”). Thanks CH2!*

For those who wish to take a look at La Zona Marker in pdf format, you can access it on academia.edu at www.academia.edu/12500029/La_Zona_Marker.

Contratulations to Ricardo and Iván and happy reading. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

A post on fidocs.cl clarifies the tripartite organization of the book:

Además de lanzar una nueva competencia de cortometrajes en su honor y de presentar una muestra de sus películas, este año hemos decidido honrar a Chris Marker con La Zona Marker. Dividido en tres capítulos, cada uno de ellos está dedicado a las distintas “vanguardias” que pueden encontrarse en su vida y obra: la primera, sobre el militante comprometido, cuenta con artículos de Trevor Stark, Carolina Amaral De Aguiar y del propio Chris Marker; el segundo, sobre el explorador que se adentra en culturas desconocidas, presenta trabajos inéditos de María Paz Peirano, Maria Luisa Ortega y Gonzalo De Lucas; el tercero, por último, es sobre sus innovaciones en el lenguaje audiovisual y edita artículos de Raymond Bellour, Eduardo Russo y Wolfgang Bongers. A ellos se suma un trabajo introductorio de los editores y una carta de Patricio Guzmán, además de ilustraciones y fotogramas. Una obra dedicada no sólo a especialistas sino a cualquiera que quiera adentrarse en los bordes difusos de su enorme legado.
R.G.

Aside from launching a new short film competition in his honor, and screening a retrospective of his work, this year we have decided to play a tribute to Chris Marker with The Marker Zone. It’s divided in three chapters, each one of them dedicated to a different cutting edge point that can be found throughout his life and works: the first about the committed militant, includes articles by Trevor Stark, Carolina Amaral De Aguiar and Chris Marker himself; the second about the explorer that ventures into unknown cultures, with unedited works by María Paz Peirano, Maria Luisa Ortega and Gonzalo De Lucas; the third and last is about his innovation on the audiovisual language and has edited articles by Raymond Bellour, Eduardo Russo and Wolfgang Bongers. Furthermore, an introductory piece by the editors and a letter by Patricio Guzmán, besides illustrations and video frames. A book not just dedicated to the adept, but to anyone who wants to delve into the vague fringes of his huge legacy.
R.G.

Table of Contents

ÍNDICE
Agradecimientos

La Zona Marker: Preludio en tres actos
Ricardo Greene e Iván Pinto

Lo que debo a Chris Marker
Patricio Guzmán

CAPÍTULO 1: UN GATO CON GARRAS

El Grupo Medvedkine y la División Cinemática del Trabajo
Trevor Stark

El ímpetu revolucionario latinoamericano en el discurso cinematográfico de Chris Marker
Carolina Amaral de Aguiar

El último bolchevique
Chris Marker

CAPÍTULO 2: GATOS ERRANTES

Viaje, romanticismo y crítica cultural: La mirada antropológica de Chris Marker
María Paz Peirano

El coleccionista y sus geografías
María Luisa Ortega

You are my second chance! Composición política de la imagen en Sans soleil
Gonzalo De Lucas

CAPÍTULO 3: “… Y ERA UN GATO, DESPUÉS DE TODO”

Del atalaya al observatorio. El cine desde las instalaciones de Chris Marker
Eduardo A. Russo

Marker forever
Raymond Bellour

Cine expandido en la era de memorias erráticas. Apuntes sobre Immemory
Wolfgang Bongers

Selección de caricaturas

Biografías

Happy Birthday (Belated) Chris Marker

I am remiss. I write from the road, thinking of Chris Marker, the most famous of unknown filmmakers, having just seen a comment from John P noting the missing birthday wishes on the 29th of July. So it is belated and a bit melancholic that I send out whispers to the higher worlds where Marker’s soul is no doubt off on new expeditions, having completed more of a life all across the Earth than can be put into words. I am reminded too of the once annual event of Chris Marker digital postcard—and of course one did not come this year, but here are a few from the past.

Year of the Dragon 2012 Chris Marker

Year of the Cat 2011 Chris Marker

Year of the Tiger 2010 Chris Marker

Bonne Annee 3009

The most fun that has been had with the varying fables of Marker’s birth and birthplace that I have seen comes from M. Chazalon at ChrisMarker.ch – Plongée en Immémoire. Hard to translate, but I’ll give it a go soon… Thanks CH2!

Non! Non! Non! Non! Non! Chris Marker n’est pas né en Helvétie, mais bien comme tout le monde le sait à Oulan-Bator, en Mongolie1.
A la suite d’une déception sentimentale de l’Empereur chinois, bien avant le grand bon en avant de maître Mao qui tenait dans son bec un stylo, et sous la douce influence de la bolchévique Union des Républiques du Suprême Soviet Système Social, plus connue de part les contrées de notre voisin sous le nom de SMIC, Chris Marker est transporté pour une croissance améliorée dans les montagnes qui tombent à pic de l’Himalaya où, à la suite d’une embuscade des pirates des mers de Chine, il est finalement récupéré par le gentil bonhomme des neiges Yéti qui décida, nom d’un fromage (ce pourquoi tout le monde pense qu’il est Suisse), de l’aimer comme son fils. C’est d’ailleurs la raison primesautière pour et par laquelle Chris Marker aime tellement les chats2, car comme il est bien connu de tous, “gratter la barbichette du Yéti, il devient tout gentil”, un peu comme un chat, en un peu plus grand. Quelques années plus tard, bien agrandi par cet amour yétiesque, il est décidé de l’envoyer en Argentine pour ses études, en échange Nostradamus des écoles primaires. Là, il étudie aux côtés du bonhomme Fidel et de son ami Bon Débarras, surnomé le Quoi3 allez savoir pourquoi. L’échange terminé, attiré par la gente féminine d’une nature si féline (la pilosité en moins), bifurcation volontaire est prise pour Paris sera toujours Paris, où un savant philosophe du nom de Sartre, à défaut de l’adopter par amour des Yétis, fut engagé par la municipalité pour inculquer à ses semblables, mais pas à lui, la bonne volonté et un peu de sagesse divine, la Bohème et le Spleen étant passés pour ne plus revenir.4
Ainsi sont les premières années officieuses de la vie de Chris Marker. Une histoire bien connue et qui réchauffe le coeur… dont vous pouvez lire la véritable suite et commencement sous “Biographie”.

Chris Darke Publishes La Jetée

Chris Darke is coming out with a new book on La Jetée and has arranged for chrismarker.org to publish the first chapter. Many thanks to Chris and to the British Film Institute! It’s an honor to get a sneak peak at this important, extremely perceptive take on Chris Marker’s most famous creation. Please click below to read the chapter. If you wish, you can order your copy at amazon.uk. Also now available at amazon.com.

La Jetée by Chris Darke, BFI Classics, Chapter One

Chris Darke, La Jetée. BFI Classics. Published July 2016

Chris Darke Biography

Chris Darke is a writer and film critic. For over twenty years his work has been published in newspapers and magazines including: Sight and Sound, Film Comment, Cahiers du cinéma, Trafic, Frieze, Vertigo, and The Independent. He is the author of four books: Light Readings: Film Criticism and Screen Arts (2000); a monograph on Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville (2005); Cannes: Inside the World’s Premier Film Festival (with Kieron Corless, 2007); and a study of La Jetée in the BFI Film Classics series (2016). He has contributed essays to catalogues and edited collections, as well as translating texts by Raymond Bellour, Jean-Pierre Oudart, Pascal Bonitzer, and Marc Augé, among others.

He has also made short arts documentaries for British television: his 1999 film about Chris Marker’s La Jetée was included (at Guillaume’s insistence) on French, UK, and US DVD releases of La Jetée and Sans soleil. He was creative consultant on Grant Gee’s Patience (After Sebald) (2012), a feature-length essay-film about W. G. Sebald’s novel The Rings of Saturn. He co-curated the major exhibition Chris Marker: A Grin without a Cat at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 2014, for which he also co-edited the catalogue. He is a Senior Lecturer in Film at Roehampton University, London.

Books

Light Readings: Film Criticism and Screen Arts (London: Wallflower Press, 2000)
Alphaville: French Film Guide (London, IB Tauris, 2005)
Cannes: Inside the World’s Premier Film Festival (with Kieron Corless. London: Faber, 2007)
Chris Marker: A Grin without a Cat (co-editor with Habda Rashid. Whitechapel Gallery, 2014)

Selected essays, articles, reviews, and interviews

Review: Antonioni exhibition at the Cinémathèque Française, Film Comment, July 2015
https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/artform-antonioni-at-the-paris-cinematheque/

Uneasy Listening: Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, UK, 2012), Film Comment, May-June 2013
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/berberian-sound-studio-uneasy-listening/

Interview with Patricio Guzmán on Nostalgia for the Light (Chile, Spain, Germany, France, 2012), Sight & Sound, August 2012
https://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/interviews/desert-disappeared-patricio-guzman-nostalgia-light/

Systems Analyst: All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (Adam Curtis, UK, 2011), Film Comment, July-August 2012
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/adam-curtis-all-watched-over-by-machines-of-loving-grace/

Interview: Adam Curtis, Film Comment, July-August 2012
https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/interview-adam-curtis/

Antonioni – the afterlife, Sight & Sound (online), March 2011
https://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/comment/obituaries/antonioni-afterlife

“Les Enfants et les Cinéphiles” The Moment of Epiphany in The Spirit of the Beehive (Victor Erice, Spain, 1973), Cinema Journal, 49, no. 2, Winter 2010, pp. 152-158.
https://muse.jhu.edu/article/373237

On the Threshold: on Hunger (Steve McQueen, UK & Ireland, 2008), Criterion Collection, 2010
https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/1375-hunger-on-the-threshold

Three Images of May: Cinema and the Uprising, Vertigo, Vol. 3 Issue 9, Spring-Summer 2008
https://www.closeupfilmcentre.com/vertigo_magazine/volume-3-issue-9-spring-summer-2008/three-images-of-may-cinema-and-the-uprising/

Review: Yella (Christian Petzold, Germany, 2007), Film Comment, May-June 2008
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/yella-review/june

First Person Singular: on the essay films of Agnès Varda, Film Comment, January-February 2008
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/first-person-singular-agnes-varda/

Freedom and Dirt: on Vagabond (Agnes Varda, France, 1985), Criterion Collection, 2008
https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/501-vagabond-freedom-and-dirt

Once More … into the Zone: Chris Marker Looks Back, in Wonder, Vertigo, Vol. 3 Issue 6, Summer 2007
https://www.closeupfilmcentre.com/vertigo_magazine/volume-3-issue-6-summer-2007/once-more-into-the-zone-chris-marker-looks-back-in-wonder/

Sweet Bird of Youth: Kes (Ken Loach, UK, 1969), Film Comment, July-August 2007
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/encore-kes/

Films of Ruin and Rapture: In Search of Jean-Daniel Pollet, Film Comment, May-June 2007
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/films-of-ruin-and-rapture-in-search-of-jean-daniel-pollet/

Chris Marker: The Invisible Man, Film Comment, May-June 2003
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/chris-marker-the-invisible-man/

Chris Marker: Eyesight, Film Comment, May-June 2003
https://www.filmcomment.com/article/chris-marker-eyesight/

Letter from London (on surveillance and cinema), Senses of Cinema, Issue 25, March 2003
https://sensesofcinema.com/author/chris-darke/

Arte to Release “La Trilogie des Balkans” Chris Marker DVD

balkan-trilogy

In an email from April 26th, Sabrina Bendali of Arte France writes of the upcoming release of three Chris Marker films that have been put together into a “Balkan Trilogy.”  The overall title of the DVD is La trilogie des Balkans, set for DVD release on June 7, 2016 and containing the following films:

  • Le 20 heures dans les camps (1993, 26″)
  • Casque Blue (1995, 26″)
  • Un maire au Kosovo (2000, 27″)

Additional materials and details:

  • Slon Tango (4 min. short)
  • interviews with François Crémieux and Jean-Michel Frodon (30 min.)
  • accompanying booklet (20 pages)
  • TRT: 2 hours
  • Language: French with French sub-titles for deaf and hearing-impaired

“Je me permets de vous écrire pour vous signaler la parution le 7 juin prochain du dvd La trilogie des Balkans, dvd qui comprend trois films : Le 20 heures dans les camps, Casque Bleu et Un maire au Kosovo.

Ensemble, ces trois brèves réalisations offrent une perception d’une rare acuité de ce qui s’est joué en ex-Yougoslavie durant la dernière décennie du 20e siècle. […]

Merci et bonne fin de journée.
Sabrina Bendali, Service press ARTE Éditions

More information and purchase are available at boutique.arte.tv/f11125-chris_marker_trilogie_balkans

Here’s an overview from the press release:

À travers les décennies et les convulsions de l’histoire, Chris Marker a toujours fait preuve d’une réactivité sensible et intelligente aux événements de la planète. Ce fut à nouveau le cas avec les guerres balkaniques des années 1990 : 45 ans après la fin de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, la guerre était de retour en Europe, des camps de concentration étaient ouverts à 500 km de Munich. En 1991-1995, une ville d’Europe symbole du multiculturalisme, Sarajevo, subissait le plus long siège de l’histoire moderne, les civils étaient abattus en pleine rue, la purification ethnique justifiait massacres et viols de masse, la communauté internationale prouvait que, malgré les leçons du siècle qui se terminait, elle restait impuissante à empêcher l’horreur, quand elle n’en devenait pas complice comme à Srebrenica. Dès le début des conflits en ex-Yougoslavie, Marker fut l’un des premiers à réagir. Il devait leur consacrer trois films, chaque fois selon une perspective originale qui, décalant l’observation journalistique ou le plaidoyer de principe, approchent davantage la vérité de ce qui est en train de se jouer, et les liens de ces événements avec le reste du monde.

Rough English Translation

Across the decades and the convulsions of history, Chris Marker always proved himself a sensible and intelligent guide to the events of the planet. This was true once again in the case of the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Forty-five years after the end of World War II, war returned to Europe. Concentration camps were opened around 500 kilometers from Munich. From 1991 to 1995, the European city Sarajevo, symbol of multi-culturalism, suffered the longest siege in modern history. Civilians were killed in the middle of the street, ethnic ‘purification’ justified massacres and mass rapes. The international community proved that, despite the lessons of the century that was ending, it remained impotent at preventing such horror, even becoming complicit in the case of Srebenica. From the beginning of the conflicts in ex-Yugoslavia, Marker was one of the first to react. He devoted himself to three films, each time following an original perspective which, offsetting journalistic observation or ethical plea, approached the truth of what was unfolding, and the links of these events to the rest of the world.

jaquette-trilogie-balkans

Special thanks to Christine van Assche for the ‘jacquette’ image above. Click to enlarge.

Film Summaries

Le 20 heures dans les camps – 26 min
1993. Au camp de Roska en Slovénie, des réfugiés bosniaques, dépouillés de tout ce qui leur appartenait, entreprennent de se réapproprier au moins l’information, en créant une télévision sur cassettes dotée de tous les éléments de la “vraie” télévision : présentateurs, jingles et piratage des émissions qui parlent d’eux.

Casque bleu – 26 min
Le témoignage d’un jeune médecin conscrit qui s’est engagé en 1994 comme casque bleu pour partir en mission en Bosnie. Après 6 mois dans la poche de Bihac, François Crémieux est de retour en France. Quel bilan tire-t-il de son expérience ? Que reste-t-il de ses attentes, de ses projections, de ses fantasmes d’avant le départ ?

Un maire au Kosovo – 27 min
En 1999 Marker recueille le témoignage de Bajram Rexhepi maire de Mitrovitsa, ville devenue célèbre à cause de son pont qui la coupait en deux et séparait la population albanaise du dernier bastion serbe. Bajram Rexhepi a été engagé comme chirurgien, dans l’Armée de libération du Kosovo. Il parle de son engagement et analyse avec lucidité les circonstances qui l’ont fait maire de Mitrovitsa.

PS: For those in Paris on May 28th, check out this symposium on Chris Marker et la photographie: www.fabula.org/actualites/….