Buster Keaton and Buster Keaton
“Her face leaning to one side, her glance followed the score carefully and sadly. Gregor crawled forward a little more and put his head as near as possible to the floor to meet her gaze. Could it be that he was only an animal, when music moved him so? It seemed to him to open a way toward that unknown nourishment he so longed for.”
Chris Marker, the influential French filmmaker whose career spanned six decades, has died, France’s Culture Ministry confirmed Monday. He was 91.
Chris Marker’s death seems to have occurred on the same date as Bergman and Antonioni’s, dead five years ago today.
Chris Markers large body of work includes the 1962 classic "La Jetee" – an award-winning post-apocalyptic movie that’s often ranked among the best time-travel films ever made.
Set in a post-World War III nuclear-devastated Paris, "La Jetee" tells the story of a prisoner sent to the past and future to save the present. The film was one of the first to use sci-fi notions of circular time and has since spawned a myriad of references.
Who said that time heals all wounds? It would be better to say that time heals everything – except wounds. With time, the hurt of separation loses its real limits. With time, the desired body will soon disappear, and if the desiring body has already ceased to exist for the other, then what remains is a wound, disembodied.
Chris Marker has been credited with inventing the "essay film," a style of documentary popularized by other filmmakers like Jean-Marie Straub, Danielle Huillet, Jean-Luc Godard, Errol Morris and Michael Moore. Despite his long legacy spanning from the early 1950’s, the eccentric filmmaker was still actively working well into his 80’s.
Coming from a fiercely polemical and intellectual political background, Marker experimented with film’s narrative and evocative possibilities in more ways than one. While it is difficult to trace the genealogy of modern cat videos, for instance, his 1990 documentary short "Cat Listening To Music" helped solidify the form.
A noted cat-lover himself, as well as something of a recluse, Marker would rarely allow himself to be interviewed or photographed for the press, offering pictures whenever asked for a photograph.
“I met Rainer Werner again at the Oscars here in Los Angeles in 1980. An unexpected sight, with his bow tie and tuxedo and everything. I’d never seen him like that. It didn’t really suit him. He had heard that I had trouble with Coppola about my film. We were looking down at all this Hollywood hustle and bustle. He put his arm around my shoulder and said: “I know you’re having serious trouble. If you want me to beat Coppola up, just show me where he is.” And he would have. I did my best to keep him away from Coppola. I think he would have punched him right in the nose.” — Wim Wenders
"It’s a great shame that we melancholiacs don’t value rituals. I’m having a tough time at parties myself. Now we’ll all have fun, fun, fun. Perhaps because melancholiacs set the stakes higher than at just a few beers and some music… It seems so phony. Rituals are, you know. But if rituals are worth nothing, that goes for everything."
Lars von Trier, Melancholia press kit