Chris Marker

"His films, mostly medium-length documentaries of varying styles, sometimes in the cinéma vérité vein, reveal a non-dogmatic Marxist political orientation, acute intelligence, and a sincere concern with a wide array of human problems." - The Film Encyclopedia, 2012

Chris Marker

Director / Screenwriter / Cinematographer / Producer / Editor
(1921-2012) Born July 29, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Country: France
Key Genres: Documentary, Essay Film, Culture & Society, Politics & Government, History, Short Films, Avant-garde/Experimental
Key Collaborator: Anatole Dauman (Producer)

"Marker is the foreign correspondent and inquiring reporter. He is especially interested in transitional societies, in "Life in the process of becoming history," as he has put it. His films are not only set in specific places, they are about the cultures of those places. Though he has tended to work in socialist countries more than most Western filmmakers, he is also fascinated by Japan. Concerned with leftist issues, he remains a member of the intellectual Left, politically committed but not doctrinaire. "Involved objectivity" is his own phrase for his approach." - Jack C. Ellis and Guo-Juin Hong (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)
"Arguably the cinema's greatest essayist, he transcends traditional documentary with his exhilaratingly personal reports on the world, discursive filmed letters which - even in Le Joli Mai, a comparatively straightforward cinéma verité account of Parisians in 1962 - adopt the quizzical perspective of a stranger in a strange land." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"Jean Queval once called Marker "our unknown cosmonaut." It was a striking idea that, while Americans trod the ashy moon in cumbersome suits, so Marker with camera over his shoulder - like Dziga Vertov's hero - had proved himself a more penetrating traveler...His films see nothing exceptional in an inquisitive traveler sending back films about the lands he has seen and the thoughts he has had while there." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"Chris Marker is essentially an audio-visual poet and essayist whose (mainly) non-fiction films are characterised by the use of static images, evocative sound tracks and strong, literate commentary. His directorial perspective has always been that of the alien in foreign territory, his films travel diaries with political overtones... As a novelist and critic, he authored an important study of dramatist Jean Giraudoux, with whom Marker shares a talent for the abstract narrative devices of existential theater." - Tony Zaza (The Virgin International Encyclopedia of Film, 1992)
"The creative use of sound, images, and text has made Chris Marker into one of the most inventive film-makers with his poetic, political, and philosophical documentaries." - Ronald Bergan (Film - Eyewitness Companions, 2006)
"French avant-garde filmmaker, multimedia manipulator, and cinematic essayist, Chris Marker can best be described as an enigma, flickering between fact and fiction. Shunning the cult of the celebrity moviemaker, he has tended, on the whole, to stay out of the limelight, allowing his phenomenal work as director to speak for itself." - Matt Hills (501 Movie Directors, 2007)
"Along with Jean Rouch, Chris Marker is also identified as a leading practitioner of cinema vérité, but his work further complicates the concept... Marker's work is shaped more by avant-garde subjectivity than a search for "film truth." - Robert Sklar (Film: An International History of the Medium, 1993)
"Marker is an inveterate globe-trotter, looking at the world with a cool, sardonic eye, intolerant of received opinions and stupid prejudices. Although he is often classified with the cinéma-vérité movement, his best films have an entirely personal emphasis, both in the choice of images and in the literary, pointed commentaries... Marker's passion and commitment to causes occasionally leads him into the wordy rhetoric which besets French intellectual life, but his needle-sharp intellect and unwillingness to believe that two and two necessarily make four give his work a pungent eloquence." - John Gillett (The International Encyclopedia of Film, 1972)
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
La Jetée (1962)
Recommended
Le Joli mai (1963), The Koumiko Mystery (1966), Grin Without a Cat (1977) , Sans soleil (1983) , The Last Bolshevik (1993)
Worth a Look
Statues Also Die (1953) [co-directed by Alain Resnais], Dimanche à Pekin (1956), Letter from Siberia (1957), Les Astronautes (1959) [co-directed by Walerian Borowczyk], iCuba Sí! (1961), Loin du Vietnam (1967) [also directed by Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais & Agnès Varda], Level Five (1997), Remembrance of Things to Come (2001) [co-directed by Yannick Bellon]
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Chris Marker / Favourite Film
Vertigo (1958) Alfred Hitchcock.
Source: Sight & Sound (1992)
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Sans Soleil
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