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July 30, 2012 9:19 AM
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Chris Marker Has Died at 91

Still from Chris Marker's 'La Jetee'
Chris Marker, the French filmmaker who is credited with inventing the film essay and whose short film "La jetée" inspired Terry Gilliam's "12 Monkeys," died today, one day after his 91st birthday.

Marker's passing was confirmed by France's Culture Ministry, according to the Associated Press.

Born Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve (he supposedly took his surname from a Magic Marker), was a novelist before he was a filmmaker; he wrote a novel, a book of criticism on playwright-novelist Jean Giradoux, poetry, short stories and film reviews for Cahiers du Cinema.

His first film was the 1958 documentary "Letter from Siberia," followed by "Cuba Si!" in 1961 -- a film that was banned in France for two years because of its anti-American tone. In 1963 he directed another doc, "Le Joli Mai," comprised of interviews with Parisians and commentary by Yves Montand (Simone Signoret in the English-language version).

However, it was his 1962 short film, "La jetée," that may his best-known work. The post-apocalyptic story about a man obsessed with the past provided the inspiration for Terry Gilliam to create "12 Monkeys" (which Marker co-wrote).

Other documentaries included "The Koumiko Mystery" (1965), "The Train Rolls On" (1971), "Le Fond de l'Air est Rouge" (1977), "Sunless" (1983), Akira Kurosawa profile "AK" (1985) and "The Last Bolshevik" (1992).

Among his last works was a multimedia installation for the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Zapping Zone, and a CD-ROM, "Immemory."
 

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4 Comments

  • gary | July 31, 2012 12:38 PMReply

    Let's try this again and hope for proper formatting:
    We thought and hoped Chris Marker would live forever.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/jul/30/chris-marker
    Some more articles:
    http://www.fandor.com/blog/daily-chris-marker-1921-2012/
    Watch for Colin MacCabe's forthcoming obit in The Independent of London.

    His short film LA JETEE is one of the great movies and all of his work was unique. Essential for your viewing is this DVD:
    http://www.criterion.com/boxsets/77-la-jetee-sans-soleil
    And Icarus has nine more available: http://icarusfilms.com/filmmakers/marker.html

    His photography and online explorations were ahead of just about everyone. He was active on Second Life until very recently and created a range of unique programs.
    http://www.chrismarker.org/

    Last year we saw his photo show in New York, "Passengers" taken in the Paris Metro with a camera in his glasses. http://peterblumgallery.com/exhibitions/2011/passengers/press-release

    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. " —Chris Marker

    http://mubi.com/notebook/posts/underground-art-chris-markers-passengers-exhibit

  • gary meyer | July 31, 2012 12:36 PMReply

    We thought and hoped Chris Marker would live forever. Here are some links for those who want to know more:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/jul/30/chris-marker

    Some more articles:
    http://www.fandor.com/blog/daily-chris-marker-1921-2012/



    Watch for Colin MacCabe's forthcoming obit in The Independent of London.

    His short film LA JETEE is one of the great movies and all of his work was unique. Essential for your viewing is this DVD:
    http://www.criterion.com/boxsets/77-la-jetee-sans-soleil

    And Icarus has nine more available: http://icarusfilms.com/filmmakers/marker.html


    His photography and online explorations were ahead of just about everyone. He was active on Second Life until very recently and created a range of unique programs.

    http://www.chrismarker.org/

    Last year we saw his photo show in New York, "Passengers" taken in the Paris Metro with a camera in his glasses. http://peterblumgallery.com/exhibitions/2011/passengers/press-release

    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. " —Chris Marker

    http://mubi.com/notebook/posts/underground-art-chris-markers-passengers-exhibit

  • kimba | July 30, 2012 1:42 PMReply

    My favorite filmmaker -the man who changes the way I see film, and even still images. When I met him and complimented him on his work, he said I must be a "very generous person". RIP mon ami.

  • E'le | July 30, 2012 1:15 PMReply

    Sans Soleil is one of the greatest movies I've ever seen. I wish I knew more about this man.