Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bemoaning a lost YouTuber

I am uploading my own material to the YT site on a regular basis to "illustrate" this blog and am also linking to the posts of others that particularly tickle my fancy, amuse me, educate me, and just plain warp my mind. I had planned on linking this eve to the wonderfully industrious work of one completely amazing poster who was calling himself "ZeroCrowell" but, sadly, his work is all come down! ZC was a true cinematic revolutionary, and had put up ALL of Godard's Histoire(s) du Cinema, which is currently unavailable in the U.S. and may never be, as Uncle Jean put it together with "No (Copy)Right," not clearing any of his clips and doing the most poetic work of his career in terms of imagery, using other's images and his own superb sensibility. ZC also put up countless rare works by one of the subjects of our show this week, Chris Marker. Marker's work is WILDLY underrepresented on U.S. vid/DVD shelves. For a long time only two films have been out legally, and now those same two have been preserved in an absolutely terrific Criterion Collection entry (La Jetée/San Soleil). In the meantime, Marker's other major works — La Joli Mai, Grin Without a Cat, Level 5 and countless others — are either being held back from DVD release (one company owns a number of them and is just plain sitting on them for some reason) or are completely without a distributor in the U.S. Perhaps the Criterion release will inspire future Marker films to come out on DVD in America, but with the way that our culture has become reduced to a "canon" of accepted books/films/albums/shows/etc, it is doubtful. Marker continues to make sublime work at the age of 85, but perhaps it will only be well after his passing that we get a look at what a genius he's been for all these years. ZeroCrowell, I salute ya, and for my link this time I can only send you flying into the several posters who have commemorated La Jetée, which I do consider one of the most rewatchable films in history, but which is actually only the very TIP of the Marker iceberg.

Memory and time await you here.

UPDATE: I was contacted by ZeroCrowell himself, who indicated that the American distributor of a number of Marker's major "missing" works asked him to take particular clips down that they do indeed distribute — and if he didn't, they'd report him in general. Given that this is all about the work of a man, Marker, who advocates free expression to the maximum and is a devotee of all new media that have shown up in the last 50 years, it is indeed rather odd that the company in question does not issue commercial releases of the films on DVD, They make them available on disc, but at prices ranging from 225 dollars to near 500 (depending on the length of the film in question), and are intended for acquisition by institutions like colleges and libraries. This also reflects back on YouTube's rather odd and arbitrary policies regarding complaints. They will honor complaints from companies, whether they are complaining about their own copyright, or simply attempting to sink a rather intrepid "secret sharer" of brilliant, rare material (which, as it happens, they don't even own). Chris, how did you let these guys get ahold of your work? If, as our poster here indicates, this is an effort on the man's own part to keep his films "hidden" for some reason, perhaps it would be better to simply go the rarified Matthew Barney route and just make them available as limited editions in nicely designed cases ... that (I got news for ya, Matthew, you wild billion-dollar surrealist you) wind up getting bootlegged anyway (not by me... I'd have to stay awake for that). Give us the Marker!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's Marker himself who restricts the commerical release of most of his films. I asked Criterion if any other releases were planned, they said they would love to but it's very unlikely.