July 31, 2012

"I chose a pseudonym, Chris Marker, pronounceable in most languages, because I was very intent on traveling. No need to delve further."

The film director — whose 1962 short "La Jetée — was the basis of the 1995 movie "12 Monkeys" — died in Paris on Sunday at the age of 91.
His films often feature a first-person narrator, a device he once called “a sign of humility.” They abound with avatars and alter-egos, including his own cat, Guillaume-en-Egypt, which sometimes appeared, in the flesh and in cartoon form, as his surrogate....

“Sans Soleil” (1982), often acknowledged as the masterpiece among Mr. Marker’s late works, is one of his least classifiable, a free-associative mix of ethnography, philosophy and poetry. Purporting to be the footage of a fictional cinematographer accompanied by his letters to a nameless woman, the film roams from Iceland to Guinea-Bissau to Japan...
Here, you can buy a Criterion Collection DVD containing "La Jetée" and "Sans Soleil." ("La Jetée" is also in this collection) (And here is "12 Monkeys," one of my favorite movies.)

16 comments:

Geoff Matthews said...

I did enjoy 12 Monkeys. Not a big Brad Pitt fan, but he was very good in it, as was Bruce Willis.

AllieOop said...

12 Monkeys was great as well as The Fifth Element, Bruce Willis, hot even if bald.

virgil xenophon said...

WHY is 12 Monkeys one of your "faves," Ann? Inquiring minds..

Geoff Matthews said...

The Fifth Element is a horrible movie. I cannot state that strongly enough.
The reason being that Luc Besson cannot hope to be the director (much less entertainer) that Terry Gilliam is.

RazorSharpSundries said...

La Jette is compelling stuff. I admired it despite my raffish, yahoo-oriented ways when I saw it a few years ago in a darkened room at the Walker Art Center. I'm a sucker for time-travel despite it's complete implausibility. For the record 12 Monkeys is a fine movie as is the Fifth Element. But then I liked the last Die Hard movie too. Bruce seemed to be a little unsure of himself in Moonrise Kingdom though.

Ann Althouse said...

I loathed "The Fifth Element."

"12 Monkeys" had a great story that involved me, kept me guessing, and made me think a lot afterwards. Great payoff when you understand it all. Perfect time travel story, amusing performances. Brad Pitt as a crazy guy.

Expat(ish) said...

12 was like Blade Runner for me - had to watch it over and over and guess and re-guess and read commentary.

Rare in a movie.

Hey, did you know "Worlds Fastest Indian" is not about Jim Thorpe but about a motorcycle? Tonight's must watch on Netflix!

_XC

AllieOop said...
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AllieOop said...

Blade Runner and Surrogates, loved them both.

leslyn said...

World's Fastest Indian--record still stands. Anthony Hopkins was a good choice; he even looks like a different person.

yashu said...

RIP Chris Marker. A big ol' leftist, whose politics sometimes infuriated me... or baffled me (though baffling would be just fine with him). But I was very fond of him as an artist and really love La Jetée and Sans Soleil.

If I was an artist, I'd love to maintain the kind of playfully enigmatic privacy Marker did. A master of "first-person" essays who yet kept his private person, private life, photographable face veiled.

Other very private artists, who shun(ned) publicity of their private person/ life ("celebrity"): Helen Levitt, Terence Malick, Thomas Pynchon.

PatCA said...

La Jetee is one of my favorites. I used to have parties and show short films and always included that one! Back in the day no one had seen anything like it. Guess it impressed a couple of young directors too.

Also showed Da Duve for comic relief.

Saint Croix said...
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Saint Croix said...

Marker's finest movie is La Jetee, no question. It's pure awesome. Love it. I used freeze frames in my thesis film as a homage to Marker. More than a homage, really, his work inspired my work.

In fact it's kind of hilarious to take the plot of La Jetee and make a Bruce Willis movie out of it. What'a amazing about La Jetee to me is the style, not the story. Slowing down the image to where our movie is made up entirely of freeze frames? Wow. Just wow. It's revolutionary. And way cool, I think.

Robert Cook said...

I've always loved 12 MONKEYS, and have to fight not to tear up at the scene of the young boy watching his older self gunned down in front of him.

Chip Ahoy said...

I too loathed the Fifth Element the first time I saw it with friends who thought it was brilliant.

And then I saw it again on cable and thought wow this movie is far more awesome and likable than I thought at first. It's filled with fine good humor through and through. And now I love the whole thing. The same thing happened with other movies too. I'm a bit slow on the uptake sometimes. Most the time. FINE! Always.