Chris Marker - Rotten Tomatoes

Chris Marker



A cinematic essayist and audio-visual poet, Chris Marker was one of the most innovative filmmakers to emerge during the postwar era. Working primarily in the arena of nonfiction, Marker rejected conventional narrative techniques, instead staking out a deeply political terrain defined by the use of still images, atmospheric soundtracks, and literate commentary. Adopting a perspective akin to that of a stranger in a strange land, his films -- haunting meditations on the paradox of memory and the manipulation of time -- investigated the philosophical implications of understanding the world through media and, by extension, explored the very definition of cinema itself.

Born Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve on July 29, 1921, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, the intensely private and enigmatic Marker shrouded the personal details of his life in mystery. He rarely agreed to interviews, and during his rare tête-à-têtes with the media he was known to provide deliberate misinformation (as a result, some biographies even list him as a native of Outer Mongolia). It is known that during World War II, Marker joined the French Resistance forces (and also, according to myth, the U.S. Army). He later mounted a career as a writer and critic, publishing the novel Veillée de l'homme et de sa liberté in 1949. He also wrote 1952's Giraudoux par Lui-Même -- an acclaimed study of the existential dramatist Jean Giraudoux, whose use of abstract narrative tools proved highly influential on Marker's subsequent film work -- and appeared in the pages of Cahiers du Cinema.

At the outset of the 1950s, Marker's radical politics found a forum in documentary filmmaking, and by 1952 he had completed his first short feature, the 16 mm Olympia 52, a study of the Helsinki Winter Olympics. His first widely acclaimed effort was 1953's Les Statues Meurent Aussi, filmed with the assistance of frequent collaborator Alain Resnais. Banned by the French government for over a decade, the film explored the rapid demise of African culture by taking aim at the exploitation of artisans by Western colonialists who encouraged the manufacture and sale of sacred folk art. After serving as an assistant director on Resnais' 1955 Holocaust landmark Nuit et Brouillard, Marker further established his reputation as a fiercely polemical talent with such provocative fare as 1956's Dimanche à Pekin, the next year's Lettre de Sibérie, 1959's Les Astronautes (co-directed by Walerian Borowczyk), and 1961's inflammatory Cuba Si! He also provided scripts for projects including Jean-Jacques Languepin's Des Hommes dans le Ciel and Raymond Vogel's Le Siècle a soif.

Ironically, Marker's most famed film was not a documentary, but a work of science fiction: the 1962 masterpiece La Jetee. A time-travel parable consisting almost completely of still images and voice-over narration, the 30-minute work later served as the inspiration behind Terry Gilliam's 1995 feature 12 Monkeys. The next year, Marker returned with Le Joli Mai, an essay on Parisian political turmoil in the wake of conflict with Algeria. Upon completing 1965's Le Mystère Koumiko, his dedication to activism continued with the formation of SLON ("Societe de Lancement des Oeuvres Nouvelles"), a Marxist arts collective initially established to produce 1967's Loin du Vietnam, a pro-North Vietnamese Army documentary anthology also featuring work from Jean-Luc Godard, Joris Ivens, Claude Lelouch, and Agnes Varda. Revived in the aftermath of the 1968 student and worker strikes, SLON continued issuing numerous agitprop films well into the next decade.

In addition to remaining active with SLON, Marker continued his own work throughout the 1970s with efforts including 1971's Le Train en Marche, 1974's La Solitude du Chanteur du Fond, 1977's Le Fond de L'air est Rouge, and 1978's multimedia video project Quand le Siécle a Pris Formes; he also worked on a variety of other projects with other directors, most famously as a c

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
100% Level Five
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
2014
No Score Yet Cinétracts
  • Director
2014
No Score Yet Marker Tout Court
  • Director
2013
No Score Yet Si J'avais Quatre Dromadaires
  • Director
2013
No Score Yet Description D'un Combat
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
2013
No Score Yet Mémoires Pour Simone
  • Director
2013
No Score Yet Casque Bleu
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
2013
No Score Yet On Vous Parle Du Brésil: Carlos Marighela
  • Director
2013
No Score Yet Le 20 Heures Dans Les Camps
  • Director
2013
No Score Yet Classe De Lutte
  • Director
2012
No Score Yet Kashima Paradise
  • Actor
2012
No Score Yet French Avant Garde Shorts
  • Director
2011
No Score Yet Berliner Ballade
  • Director
2010
100% The Case of the Grinning Cat
  • Director
2006
No Score Yet A Bientot J'espere
  • Director
2004
100% Le Souvenir d'un avenir (Remembrance of Things to Come)
  • Director
2001
100% Cinema, de notre temps: Une journee d'Andrei Arsenevitch
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
2000
No Score Yet Le Fond De L'air Est Rouge : 1ère Partie : Les Mains Fragiles
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1998
No Score Yet Short 2: Dreams
  • Director
1997
No Score Yet Le Tombeau d'Alexandre (The Last Bolshevik)
  • Director
1992
No Score Yet A.K.
  • Director
1985
No Score Yet 2084 (2084: Video clip pour une réflexion syndicale et pour le plaisir)
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1985
92% Sans Soleil
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1983
No Score Yet Junkopia
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1981
No Score Yet Batalla de Chile: El poder popular
  • Producer
1980
91% Le Fond de l'air est rouge (A Grin Without a Cat) (The Base of the Air Is Red)
  • Director
1977
No Score Yet The Loneliness of the Long Distance Singer(Solitude du chanteur de fond, La)
  • Actor
  • Director
1974
No Score Yet Vive la baleine (Three Cheers for the Whale)
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1974
No Score Yet L'Ambassade (Embassy)
  • Director
1973
No Score Yet La bataille des dix millions (Cuba: Battle of the 10,000,000)
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1971
No Score Yet Le train en marche (The Train Rolls On)
  • Director
1971
No Score Yet La sixième face du pentagone (The Sixth Face of the Pentagon)
  • Director
1968
No Score Yet Le Mystère Koumiko (The Koumiko Mystery)
  • Director
1965
92% Le Joli Mai
  • Actor
  • Director
1963
No Score Yet ...A Valparaíso (Valparaiso)
  • Screenwriter
1963
92% La Jetée (The Pier)
  • Director
1962
No Score Yet Description of a Struggle
  • Director
1961
No Score Yet Cuba S!
  • Director
1961
No Score Yet L'Amerique insolite
  • Screenwriter
1960
No Score Yet Lettre de Sibérie (Letter from Siberia)
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1957
No Score Yet Dimanche à Pekin (Sunday in Peking)
  • Director
1956
No Score Yet Statues Also Die (Les Statues meurent aussi)
  • Director
1953
No Score Yet Olympia 52
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1952
No Score Yet Les Hommes De La Baleine
  • Screenwriter
1930

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet POV
1988
  • Appearing

Quotes from Chris Marker's Characters

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