French writer and avant-garde multimedia artist/photographer/filmmaker Chris Marker died at age 91 on July 29. The movie that they screen most at film schools is Left Bank Cinema entry “La jetee” (1962), followed by “A Grin Without a Cat” (1977), “Sans Soleil” (1983) and his documentary essay on Akira Kurosawa, “AK”(1985). Marker’s closest contemporaries in France were Agnès Varda and Alain Resnais, who described Marker as “the prototype of the twenty-first-century man.” Film writer Roy Armes said he was cinema’s only essayist. Here’s The Guardian and Fandor.
Telluride Film Festival co-director Gary Meyer posted on his Facebook page today:
One of the world’s great filmmakers, innovators and thinkers has passed away at 91. We thought and hoped Chris Marker would live forever.
His short film LA JETEE is one of the great movies and all of his work was unique.
Little is on DVD but essential for your viewing is this disc.
His photography and online explorations were ahead of just about everyone.
Last year we saw his photo show in New York, “Passengers” taken in the Paris Metro with a camera in his glasses. 21 of the amazing images are on this link and more in this review which ends with a quote from Marker:
“Cocteau used to say that at night, statues escape from museums and go walking in the streets. During my peregrinations in the Paris Metro, I sometimes made such unusual encounters. Models of famous painters were still among us, and I was lucky enough to have them sitting in front of me. “
He spent time in San Francisco, and my Co-Director of Telluride, Tom Luddy, was an assistant on three films including SAN SOLEIL with its VERTIGO tour of San Francisco, starting a lifelong friendship. Another local angle is that Berkeley’s David and Janet Peoples wrote the screenplay for Terry Gilliam’s TWELVE MONKEYS which was inspired by LA JETEE.
Thanks to Peter Scarlet for pointing out that Icarus has 9 of Chris’ films on DVD.
Marker was very active until very recently on Second Life, the virtual world developed at San Francisco’s Linden Labs.
Chris died on his birthday.