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Chris Marker: An Essayist from the Future

MUBI Special

The Astronauts

Walerian Borowczyk, Chris Marker France, 1959

Beginning his directing career in animation—inspiring Jan Švankmajer, Terry Gilliam, and the Quays—this ingenious first film from controversial expat Walerian Borowczyk was made in France using friend Chris Marker’s name to help it get produced.

Level Five

Chris Marker France, 1997

The beginning of Chris Marker’s love affair with interactive technology and virtual realities,. Level Five is a fascinating and rare artifact; an intricate spider web, sometimes a video game, that astutely plays with History and its ghosts. Who’s in?

Sans soleil

Chris Marker France, 1983

Closing our retrospective of Chris Marker’s inventive, transcendent travelogues and essays is Sans soleil, a profound stream-of-consciousness examination of memory, and a celebration of cinema. Voted by Sight & Sound the third best documentary film of all time.

Junkopia

Chris Marker, John Chapman, Frank Simeone France, 1981

In Chris Marker’s captivating short, human life appears absent, and what is left behind is just junk: garbage assembled and built into familiar shapes and structures, the ominous foreboding of foghorns and black box audio eliciting the de-familiarizing feeling that, somehow, this is the future.

Three Cheers for the Whale

Mario Ruspoli, Chris Marker France, 1972

Somewhat a departure for Chris Marker, this issue-based documentary delivers its sobering warning against commercial whaling and industrial extermination. It may be, above all, a fascinating act of myth-making—illustrating the importance of whales with remarkable sources and citations.

La jetée

Chris Marker France, 1962

Chris Marker’s game-changing photo-roman is storytelling pared all the way back, an inventive distillation of cinema that demands you lean in to the image and inspect every frame. A recursive and sorrowful stream of fragments and memories, sci-fi sans SFX!

Description of a Struggle

Chris Marker Israel, 1960

Named for a Kafka short story, this Chris Marker feature carries on in his usual mixed-media, scrapbook style. Deftly moving from one idea to another, exploring the communication between several simultaneous narratives, Marker leaves us with a whole ethnography of the young state of Israel.

Letter from Siberia

Chris Marker France, 1957

Continuing our Chris Marker retrospective, here is another entry that is far more than just documentary footage — one bolstered as well by a tongue-in-cheek script, a spirited soundtrack from the French New Wave’s Georges Delerue, and really, truly, everything you ever needed to know about reindeer.

Sunday in Peking

Chris Marker France, 1956

Director Chris Marker begins by recounting his childhood dream of visiting the city of Peking – a city he was once only able to admire in books. The viewer is taken on a journey through this city, as if experiencing it from the mind and through the eyes of Marker.

Life is too short for bad films

Every day we hand-pick a beautiful new film and you have a whole month to watch it, so there’s always 30 perfectly curated films to discover.