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Chris Marker (1921 - )

Related: French cinema - director


Chris Marker (born July 29, 1921) is a writer, photographer, film director and documentary maker. He was born Christian Bouche-Villeneuve, in Paris, France. He is best known for directing La Jetée (1963) and Sans Soleil (1982).

Chris Marker studied philosophy under Jean-Paul Sartre. In World War II he joined the Résistance. After the war he began to write and make films. He traveled to many socialist countries and documented what he saw in films and books.

He became internationally known for the short film La Jetée. It tells the story of a post-nuclear war experiment in time travel by using a series of filmed photographs developed as a photo-montage of varying pace with limited narration and only a single brief moving image.

In 1982 he finished Sans Soleil, stretching the limits of what could be called a documentary. It is an essay, a montage, mixing pieces of documentary with fiction and philosophical comments, creating an atmosphere of dream and science fiction (again). The main themes are Japan, (the erasing of) memory and travel. The title is taken from the song cycle Sunless by Modest Mussorgsky.

Beginning with Sans Soleil he developed a deep interest in digital technology, which led to his film Level 5 (1996) and IMMEMORY (1998), an interactive multimedia CD-ROM, produced for the Centre Pompidou.

As a filmmaker, Chris Marker sees himself related to Andrei Tarkovsky and Akira Kurosawa, both of whom he has portrayed in films. Chris Marker lives in Paris and does not grant interviews. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Marker [Mar 2005]

La Jetée (1962) - Chris Marker

In search of anti-film

Courtesy pas au-delà

La Jetée (1962) (literally "The Jetty" or "The Pier", but in this case idiomatically meaning "The Terminal," as in an airport terminal) is a black and white 28-minute science fiction film by Chris Marker.

It tells the story of a post-nuclear war experiment in time travel by using a series of filmed photographs developed as a photomontage of varying pace with no dialogue and a limited narration consisting of a voice over. It contains only one single brief moving image.

Due to its brevity it often accompanies other films; Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville (1965) was the film it was first released with.

Terry Gilliam's 1995 film Twelve Monkeys was inspired by and loosely based on La Jetée. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Jet%E9e [Jul 2006]

Non-Original Music by Trevor Duncan (stock music)

Movies have adapted movies (e.g. Twelve Monkeys deriving from La Jetée).

A good example of both analepsis and prolepsis is the first scene of La Jetée. As we learn a few minutes later, what we are seeing in that scene is a flashback to the past, since the present of the film's diegesis is a time directly following World War III. However, as we learn at the very end of the film, that scene also doubles as a prolepsis, since the dying man the boy is seeing is, in fact, himself. In other words, he is proleptically seeing his own death. We thus have an analepsis and prolepsis in the very same scene. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flashback_%28literary_technique%29 [Jul 2006]

In La Jetée (1962), the hero is haunted by a memory from his childhood, which turns out to be himself as an adult.

Time travel
A common theme in time travel movies is dealing with the paradoxical nature of travelling to the past. The film La Jetée (1962) has a self-fulfilling quality as the main character as a child witnesses the death of his future self. It famously inspired 12 Monkeys (1995). In Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) the main character jumps backwards and forwards across his life, and ultimately accepts the inevitability of his final fate. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fiction_film [Jul 2006]

Predestination paradox
Another potential inspiration for the 1984 The Terminator is the well-regarded 1962 French film, La Jetée, a short black and white film by director Chris Marker. Told entirely in still images and narration, the film concerns a man in an underground post-nuclear future sent back into the pre-apocalyptic past to obtain resources necessary to continue humanity. The man is selected for his mission because his fixation on a memory from that period, in which he sees a beautiful woman and a man dying. The film concludes, as The Terminator does, with a predestination paradox; while in the past, the man falls in love with a woman who bears a striking resemblence to the woman in his memory, and then fulfils his own destiny by becoming the very man he witnessed dying, thus enabling him to travel back into the past. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Terminator [Jul 2006]

Anatole Dauman
La Jetée was produced by Anatole Dauman's influential Argos Films.

See also: Anatole Dauman - anti-film - 1962 - photomontage - Chris Marker

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