Chris Marker
Guy Lochhead, 13/06/10
Engimatic French experimental filmmaker. He is a staunchly left-wing filmmaker whose work pushes the boundaries of documentary and film narrative with its use of still image, new digital formats and philosophical comment. He has supported young, political filmmakers who’ve run into financial/political difficulty. He took his name from the ‘Magic Marker’ pens. I want to not include Marker, though I’m struggling to see why. I think his films have an air of pretentiousness that possibly undermines the more interesting qualities of his work – experimentation with new technologies, and the documentary form, and a good moral sensibility – but this could be justified as offering more food for thought than the average documentary (especially when countering the didactic black-and-white message-films of, for example, Michael Moore) I really don’t know whether to include him or not. I think I should, for his support of other political documentary makers and artists, and for his work ethic and awareness. The obtuseness of his filmmaking often suits his subjects – mostly artists, mostly politically motivated. I’ll include the 2007 Criterion Collection DVD of ‘La Jetée’ and ‘Sans Soleil’, which includes his essay ‘Working On A Shoestring Budget’. These two films can be enjoyed and understood without a knowledge of French New Wave, Japanese culture or Russian cinematic heritage (unlike some of his films), and serve as a good introduction to what he does.

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