Sans Soleil, Chris Marker.
We know that this part of the day comes every day
And we feel that, as it has its rights, so
We have our right to be ourselves in the measure
That we are in it and not some other day, or in
Some other place. The time suits us
Just as it fancies itself, but just so far
As we not give up that inch, breath
Of becoming before becoming may be seen,
Or come to seem all that it seems to mean now.
Blue Sonata, John Ashbery.
Photograph by Ansel Adams, Eclipse, california, circa 1924. Via.
Have your travels made you suspicious of dogmatism?
I think I was already suspicious when I was born. I must have traveled a lot before then!
Chris Marker interviewed by Samuel Douhaire and Annick Rivoire for Libération, March 5, 2003. Read.
Watch Sans Soleil, 1983.
He wrote me that in the suburbs of Tokyo there is a temple consecrated to cats. I wish I could convey you the simplicity—the lack of affectation of this couple who had come to place an inscribed wooden slat in the cat cemetery so their cat Tora would be protected. No she wasn’t dead, only run away. But on the day of her death no one would know how to pray for her, how to intercede with death so that he would call her by her right name. So they had to come there, both of them, under the rain, to perform the rite that would repair the web of time where it had been broken.
Sans Soleil (dir. Chris Marker — 1983)
Bloody hell, it was only yesterday, Chris Marker’s 91st birthday, that I read a few words on him by Resnais and thought of revisiting Sans Soleil because it’s one of those films for me which demarcates time and bears witness to my life. I instead reread his text on Vertigo which remains as ever present in my mind as Rivette’s text on Kapo. Marker is a rare director whose vivid imagination has never oppressed me; the images and words (and what words, like Magritte’s) were always a source of liberation. It’s no surprise then that his work has been an imaginative catalyst for other filmmakers, writers, musicians, and photographers. It always seemed so easy to read Marker’s autobiography in his work so I find it quite amusing (but still fucking sad) that his final film is set to screen soon at Locarno - in Marker’s case, the work goes on even when the biography ends. I’m still a bit disoriented by the news and the following remembrances make me feel even more anchor-less but that’s how I want to remember this man today.
- Roundup of links at Keyframe Daily and Film Studies for Free
- Lee Rourke at The Guardian
- Roger Tailleur at Rouge
- Marker’s YouTube channel
- Letters from Siberia, maintained by JAFB
- Marker’s Slon Tango
- Marker’s photographs of the Paris Metro
- Craig Keller’s translation of Marker’s essay accompanying Leila Attacks
- Emilie Bickerton at LARB
- Agnes Varda’s visit to Marker’s studio
- J.G. Ballard on La Jetée
- A few texts from Marker’s films
Screencaps of Chris Marker’s island in Second Life (from a visit made sometime in Nov. 2010).
Stopover in Dubai. Chris Marker’s film about the murder of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas military commander, on January 19, 2010.
It seems perverse to talk about the aesthetics of such a film but the evocation of early cinema is what makes this so chilling. Pedro Costa once said something to the effect of how nothing is threatening in the cinema anymore. A dog barks, a train races at you but the spectator is unmoved unlike his/her predecessor a century ago. In Stopover, even though it’s a reconstruction, every step of the murderers is menacing. The camera(s), designed to watch and protect, shocks us with its passive, conspiratorial distance.
Chris Marker &