Friday, March 28, 2008

Magic (Chris) Marker: some snippets from a career

This week’s episode of the Funhouse contains commentary and scenes from two political features by the brilliant Chris Marker, so I thought I’d refer folks to his works that are currently lurking on — where else? — the ’Tube. We thank the anonymous benefactor who posted these features a while back (plus others he’s promised to put back up at some future instant) and who has taken the time to re-upload them to YT. This is only the very tip of the iceberg of Marker’s films.

Of course, you have to be familiar with one of the greatest films ever made, Marker’s magnificent memory play La Jetee

Kudos to another poster who put up the version of the film that I first saw and fell in love with, an old scratchy 16mm print that is in French with English subs

One of his earliest works was the documentary Olympia ’52 which is a bit blurry and unsubbed in this transfer, but still enlightening.

A collaboration with his fellow “Left Bank” New Wave comrade, the great Alain Resnais (still making great movies in his 80s, like Marker). Les Statutes Meurent Aussi (Statues Also Die, 1953). Unsubbed, but visually gorgeous stuff.

Marker has made films all around the world, here’s one on Japan that mirrors his work in San Soleil. This dialogue-less video piece is called Tokyo Days.

A piece of computer animation by Marker, Les Theorie des Ensembles.

Marker studies the great Andrei Tarkovsky as he makes The Sacrifice in this feature:

For the very hardcore:
Actress Catherine Belkhodja (mother of Funhouse interview subject Isild Le Besco) is featured in the video installation Silent Movie.

Info on an “interactive, hyperactive” gallery installation by Chris that seems like a wet dream for Funhouse fans, the “Zapping Zone”

And a true head-trip: Marker’s very wild 2084, which has been posted in French, but with Spanish subs (providing an overload of sensory input, visual and aural, just the way he likes it).


Anonymous said...

For immediate release


Columbus, OH—The Wexner Center Store is now the exclusive retail home (for a limited time) to Icarus Films’ latest DVD releases of films by the legendary Chris Marker. The first two DVDs—The Case of the Grinning Cat (which includes seven additional short films) and The Sixth Side of the Pentagon/The Embassy—have already hit the shelves, with more on the way throughout the year, many of which have been unavailable in any video format until now. These titles will be available from the Wexner Center Store for six months before being made available at other retail outlets. Other upcoming releases include The Last Bolshevik/Happiness and Remembrance of Things to Come, with more titles to be announced soon.

The films can be purchased in the Store, or online at the Wexner Center’s newly established “Chris Marker Store.” The Chris Marker Store will also be the online home of posters, catalogues, DVDs, and more. It will be the most extensive location of Chris Marker merchandise on the web.

Notes Bill Horrigan, director of media arts and curator of two internationally touring Marker gallery exhibitions: “This is an exciting partnership between the Wexner Center and Icarus Films. To be the first and only retail outlet in the world to carry these films is not only a great honor, it’s a perfect fit considering our longstanding relationship with Chris.”

Marker—the visionary filmmaker behind such inimitable works as La jetée, Sans Soleil, ¡Cuba Si!, and many others—has had a lengthy relationship with the Wexner Center and Horrigan. Last summer, Marker personally selected nearly 200 photographs from his archive for the exhibition Staring Back, curated by Horrigan (which premiered at the Wexner Center, toured to New York to much critical acclaim, and is now on view in Zurich). The Center was also the home to his first commissioned work, Silent Movie (1995), also curated by Horrigan; it has been touring internationally ever since.

For three decades, Icarus Films has been one of the world’s leading distributors of documentary films, DVDs, and videos. Carrying more than 800 titles, mostly independent productions, they provide innovative and informative views of the world. Icarus Films has also had a sustained relationship with the work of Chris Marker, having distributed films by him for close to 15 years.

The Wexner Center for the Arts is The Ohio State University's multidisciplinary, international laboratory for the exploration and advancement of contemporary art.
Through exhibitions, screenings, performances, artist residencies, and educational programs, the Wexner Center acts as a forum where established and emerging artists can test ideas and where diverse audiences can participate in cultural experiences that enhance understanding of the art of our time.

In its programs, the Wexner Center balances a commitment to experimentation with a commitment to traditions of innovation and affirms the university's mission of education, research, and community service. The Wexner Center houses gallery spaces, performing arts venues, a film/video theater, video editing suites, a café, and the Wexner Center Store.

Media Funhouse said...

Thanks for the information, anonymous poster-person. I had seen that the Wexner Center was selling four DVD releases of great Chris Marker features. I have bought two and look to buy the other two soon. I doubt this "anonymous" poster will return to the blog, but if he/she does, I'd like to ask two questions:

-Why are the DVDs still being made "exclusive" despite their very reasonable price? Why not sell them on Amazon, Movies Unlimited,and in general actually make them fully available to the public as a whole?
-The epic film about 1968 Grin Without a Cat is an utter Marker masterwork which I reviewed on the show years and years ago. It has been available only in a cost-prohibitive version meant only for schools. Will we finally get to see this terrific work be available to the public at a reasonable price *soon*? (Anything under 50 dollars, say--3 hour films are available for much less.) Grin is apparently licensed over here by First Run/Icarus and, it like the other titles, has been held close to the vest, making Marker the "maker of unknown films" that he claims himself to be in one of his latest video shorts.


Admon said...

Thanks a lot for your blogs. Your writing style is very nice. Keep it up.....