Chris Marker, filmmaker, poet, novelist, photographer, editor, and now videographer and digital multimedia artist, has been challenging moviegoers, philosophers, and himself for years with his complex queries about time, memory, and the rapid advancement of life on this planet. Marker’s La Jetée is one of the most influential, radical science-fiction films ever made, a tale of time travel told in still images. —The Criterion Collection
La Jetée is perhaps the most ‘fictional’ of Marker’s output, weaving its story of a nuclear-devastated Paris in the near future; it is far from conventional. Lasting 29 minutes, shot in black and white and consisting almost entirely of still photographs – imaginatively blended with dissolves, wipes and fades – this is the bare bones of science fiction. It highlights why we are attracted to SF in the first place: not for bug-eyed aliens or galaxy-hopping spaceships, but for the way in which the form can twist our most cherished versions of reality inside out. Indeed, La Jetée belongs to a fascinating epoch in French alternative cinema, when a number of directors engaged with SF as a philosophical tool. Its concept of circular time and ‘Chinese box’ narrative recall Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville (1965). —Simon Sellars
“I write to you from a far-off country…”
Information regarding the early life of Chris Marker, photographer, filmmaker, videographer, poet, journalist, multimedia/installation artist, designer, and world traveler, is scarce and conflicting. The year to which his movies, videos, and multimedia projects are dated depends on which source you use, and in which country you live. Personal data is in a state of complete disarray: Derek Malcolm, writing about ¡Cuba Sí! (1961) for The Guardian, reports that Marker was born in Mongolia, of aristocratic descent. Geoff Andrew of Time Out London isn’t sure (Andrew, 146), and most sources, along with the Internet Movie Database, use the location I’ve listed above as his place of birth. Some say his father was an American soldier, others that he (Marker) was a paratrooper in the Second World War. Still others, that he comes to us from an alien planet. Or the future. Throughout his career, he has rarely been interviewed, and even more rarely… read more
A Japanese La jetée and more posters from our sidebar Tumblr, Movie Poster of the Day.
We are saddened to hear of the passing of Chris Marker, documentarian, film essayist, and one of the most creative filmmakers in cinema.
"And all cinema — including Hollywood — reflects reality. In fact, sometimes the worse the film the more it reflects real life." Jonas Mekas
"La Jetée belongs to a genre that breeds opportunity for elaborate vision and little thought; the film is responsibly contrary to both assessments
From December 15 through 22, The Auteurs and Stella Artois will be presenting to viewers over 18 in the UK a daily series of French
La Jetée (1962)
Chris Marker’s slide show rather than a motion picture—except for one spooky moment, an image of a woman, among a long series of stills…that blinks—but no less… read review
Chris Marker’s 1962 28-minute La Jetée is a masterpiece in unconventional delivery. It’s a post-apocalyptic story of memory, love and time travel told in bleak narration through a series of grainy… read review