This was Chris Marker:
This was also Chris Marker:
He went by many names. Sometimes Chris, other times Sandor Krasna, Michel Krasna, Mister Kha. But to me, he was the filmmaker par excellence. La Jetee was the first time I felt the power of film, its ability to completely bowl you over and knock the wind out of your lungs. In that one hidden moment in La Jetee, where the nameless lady is sleeping and the still frames come faster and faster, dissolving one into the other. And then, for a second, the still images become fluid, she opens her eyes and blinks. Like the face that marks the protagonist of La Jetee, this literal ‘awakening’ marked me. I watched the birth of cinema and it was more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. In that one fleeting moment, I saw cinema’s possibility. I saw time and I saw memory, interwoven and interlocking, inseperable from each other. I used to think that cinema tried to capture time but then, I understood that it actually gives birth to time, it allows it to exist, it brings time forth, “pure time” to go by Deleuze.
Then, with Sans Soleil, Marker cemented his place in my mind. The effortless evocative energy of this essay film is unlike anything I have ever encountered since. This lady with the sultry voice reads letters out loud that sound like poetry. Each time I watch Sans Soleil, and I have watched it many many times, I find myself taking different paths: sometimes it is the images, other times the words. It is like getting lost in a maze where every twist and every turn is an invitation to thought.
Then, on to more films. So many more. So many stories of Marker, from his unabashed support of the seminal Battle of Chile to his documentation of the old masters Tarkovsky and Kurosawa. Marker’s was a boundless curiosity, one that went everywhere at once. Unlike filmmakers who are afraid of technology, Marker seized every new piece of technology that came into his hands. He was on Second Life, on Youtube, on Flickr. He travelled the world over, fascinated with Japan and in his last days, posted heartwrenching drawings and thoughts from Korea.
He was a fascinating man, a brilliant thinker, an artist of the highest calibre and a ceaseless soul, always wandering, always seeking. Chris Marker, you will be greatly missed. Maybe not by many, for few know of the man you were, but for us, for the few whose lives you touched and molded through your films, photos, blogs, pictures, art installations, CDs and as Guillame, it is a gaping hole you leave behind. Though you spoke so eloquently of time and memory, of forgetting and Vertigo, you have now yourself become memory, outside and inside of time, lost in the spiral.