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Chris Marker, the director who never existed

On July 29, 2012 he passed away in Paris Chris Marker, French filmmaker who during his life was an enigmatic and prolific artist. And it is that many times the name of Chris Marker was put under the magnifying glass and dozens of theories were made about him. This artist was born in 1921, so much of his artistic career went through a time without the internet. This further added to his legend, and even its existence was questioned with great eagerness.

Today, Chris Marker is known for his fruitful and surprising work. Which always passed criticism and a unique look on the world. One of his first works was the short film Les statues meurent aussi, co-directed with Alain Resnais. This was censured in France for a long time for its critical stance towards colonialism and the social crushing of African cultures.

Throughout his career he made works of fiction, but also he is considered as the architect of the “subjective documentary”. That is to say, that documentary that gathers the director’s own vision and reaches essay reflections throughout the film. It is said that throughout his life he did not give interviews. So for a long time, as we said above, it was said that Chirs Marker did not exist. Or that, in another way, his name was rather a firm that unified the work of a group of directors.

‘Twelve Monkeys’ and Chris Marker

chris marker‘Twelve monkeys’ (1995) | Universal

In the history of cinema, this French artist is an institution. A must for documentary filmmakers and for lovers of the seventh art in general. Among his most influential works is the short film La Jetée from 1962. A film that would later inspire Terry Guilliam for his film Twelve Monkeys. Recall that this movie was released in 1995, starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt.

La Jetée, like the film by the mythical Monty Python, is about a series of scientific experiments carried out in different jumps in time in a post-apocalyptic world. Later in 2015, Twelve Monkeys was also adapted into a television series. Which aired for 4 seasons.

Marker the revolutionary

Towards the end of the nineties Chris Marker made use of digital technology and carries out various projects with interactive materials. A small sample that this French artist did not adhere to the standards of conventional cinema, nor did he tire of experimenting with the visual tools at his fingertips.

It should be noted that much of his work is socially committed and politically charged. Many of his works were dedicated to social struggles, such as China, Cuba, and communist Siberia. He also watched the wars of the time: Vietnam and Bosnia. In other cases, he was interested in the work of two other film giants: Andrei TArkovsky and Akira Kurosawa, whom he filmed in Une journée d’Andrei Arsenevitch (1999) and AK (1985), respectively.

His last recorded film is Chats perchés from 2004, which was released directly on DVD. A very interesting documentary about some yellow cats that appear painted on the walls of Paris. Where Marker, who always expressed his love for cats, looks for the origin of these pints and ends up capturing the political and international events of recent years.

Thus, Chris Marker was and will be an artist who has always aroused great interest in movie lovers. His unique and surprising work tells us about how in all the arts there will always be creators who are not only innovative in their area. Rather, they become legends, characters that transcend time. That is to say, influences that are worth knowing, revisiting and looking very closely, as much as possible.

The article Chris Marker, the director who never existed was published in Hypertext.