Chris Marker

Chris Marker: Memories of the Future by Catherine Lupton

I have always felt an indefinable kinship towards Chris Marker’s films that were not particularly related to the overt intellectuality of his work or his espousal of left-leaning ideals. However, it was not until the first chapter in Catherine Lupton’s book on the filmmaker, Chris Marker: Memories of the Future that this gravitation took on… read more »

Remembrance of Things to Come, 2001

A visual essay into – or more appropriately, a thoughtful process of signification for – a montage of photographs from Denise Bellon’s photo-reportage from the period between the two world wars (as the “grand illusion” of a lasting peace during the mid 1930s after the Great War gradually unraveled to reveal an inexorable path towards… read more »

Level Five, 1997

Exploring similar territory as Russian filmmaker Aleksandr Sokurov on the continuity of collective history, spiritual desolation, and immanence, Level Five also serves as a thoughtful and reverent homage to Alain Resnais’ films on the interpenetration of memory and the subconscious. Presented as a series of video feed confessionals by a woman (Catherine Belkhodja) to her… read more »

The Last Bolshevik, 1993

The Last Bolshevik opens to an insightful and relevant excerpted passage from author and critical thinker George Steiner’s book, In Bluebeard’s Castle: Some Notes Towards the Redefinition of Culture: “It is not the literal past that rules us [save, possibly, in a biological sense]. It is images of the past.” Composed in the structure of… read more »

Sans soleil, 1983

An early episode in Sans soleil shows a series of porcelain cats – some intact while others, weather worn or cracked with missing appendages – curiously lining a shrine in a Japanese temple that, as the unseen narrator (Alexandra Stewart) reveals, has been consecrated in memory of these benevolent creatures. In a subsequent, unrelated musing… read more »

A Grin Without a Cat, 1977

An off-screen narrator (speaking in first-person narrative for the filmmaker) recalls early memories of Battleship Potemkin as a series of images from the film converge towards the moment of the sailors’ call to arms – and revolution – with the singular word “Brothers!” before the order to fire from the bridge of the battleship is… read more »

The Embassy, 1973

Filmed in the wake of the staged military coup d’├ętat on September 11, 1973 that overthrew the leftist government of elected Chilean President Salvador Allende, Chris Marker’s The Embassy is something of a cross between the immersive docufiction of Peter Watkins and the reflexive diaries of Jonas Mekas in its clinical dissection of the zeitgeist… read more »

The Koumiko Mystery, 1965

Channeling the zeitgeist of the French new wave, The Koumiko Mystery assimilates Jean-Luc Godard’s enraptured clinical deconstructions of the feminine mystique (as well as a penchant for structuring these ruminations within the framework of noir) with Jacques Demy’s achingly nostalgic evocations of elusive, romanticized longing into a whimsical, organic, and fractured, yet quintessential Chris Marker… read more »

Le Joli mai, 1963

Before Chris Marker would deconstruct the 1930s, postwar photo-reportage of Denise Bellon in Remembrance of Things to Come to unearth what would prove to be subliminal portents within the zeitgeist of seeming halcyon days that would prove to be a harbinger of an inevitable second great war to end all wars, he would first cast… read more »

Letter from Siberia, 1957

One of the highlights of the 2004 New York Video Festival was Jacqueline Goss’ disarmingly whimsical and tongue-in-cheek, yet witty and incisive ethnographic video essay, How to Fix the World – an animated reenactment based on the cognitive studies of psychologist Alexander R. Luria that preceded the Soviet government’s mandate to promote Western education and… read more »