The iconic filmmaker Chris Marker died today
July 30th 2012 marks the death of a legend in Cinema. Chris Marker the director of iconic films La jetée (1962), A Grin Without a Cat (1977), Sans Soleil (1983), AK (1985), and an essay film on the Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa has passed away one day of after his Birthday at the age of 91.
Many know him for his influence on Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (1995) but this pales in comparison to his Cinematic achievements. He was a writer, photographer, documentary film director, multimedia artist and film essayist. His short film La jetée became known internationally and is the inspiration for other works as well, such as Mamoru Oshii’s 1987 debut live action feature The Red Spectacles and parts of Oshii’s 2001 film Avalon. It also inspired many of director Mira Nair’s shots for the 2003 film The Namesake.
I too have been inspired to learn from Chris Marker’s cinematic elements especially since seeing La Jetée which left quite an impression on me. I made a short during my college years in a similar vain. The assignment was to use pictures in some way for our next film. While many filmed scenes that interacted with actual photographs i wanted to try telling a story with still images much like i had seen and wanted to try ever since i saw Chris Marker’s film. I did not mimic his style or do a narration, i aimed to invoke an emotional tone with just my images using no more than a touch of sound. Unfortunately my film was never finished due to a strenuous schedule juggling full time freelance film and videography work while attending school full time but the result was still exciting. If you would like to see my short, visit this link : The Shore
I can go on and on about “La jetée” and its brilliance but it is best experienced. It can be found pirated on youtube but i will say this if you chose to go that route. PLEASE do yourself a favor and watch it in French Audio with SUBTITLES. There is no comparison to the the original once it has been dubbed, yuk. Half of the impact was lost on me when i saw that version, the voice does not invoke the same weight and eerie the original did.The best copy i have seen is easily the new transfer by The Criterion Collection. There is now a bluray of “La jetée” paired with “Sans Soleil” presented in an aspect ratio of 1.64:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and a 1080p transfer. It has also been cleaned up a bit. This is an essential to any collection to say the least, I adore having all of my favorites in new HD prints and have been obsessively collecting my them with the updates. Previously i had La Jetée on a roll of film! I didn’t care for the DVD of it in comparison to my actual film copy but this is epic… You can find that here : La Jetée / Sans Soleil (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Most of his work can be viewed pirated around the net and while i don’t encourage that i do encourage you to view more than just La Jetée if you have the time for it.
Chris Marker is one of the few directors that changed everything for me after I saw his work. This happened with only a few films in my lifetime but with Chris it happened twice! The second time was with “Sans Soleil”. As such how can he ever be forgotten. Even if he has moved on from this reality i will always remember the impact he had on me growing up inspired by the greatest. As he has said “Rarely has reality needed so much to be imagined.” I find this especially true when i wished there were more great filmmakers still around today.