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Chris Marker
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"If ever there was a filmmaker to come up with a Theory of Everything, it's Marker."
—Time Out

"Chris Marker, the most poetic and original of documentarists."
—The Guardian

Born Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve on July 29, 1921 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, Chris Marker was a cinematic essayist and audio-visual poet.

After the Second World War, Marker began as a writer, publishing his first book in 1949. In the 1950s he turned to documentary filmmaking. Among his classic works from this period are Letter from Siberia, Cuba Si!, Le Joli Mai, and La Jetée. In the '60s and '70s he was actively involved with SLON, a filmmaking collective dedicated to activist production.

Marker reemerged to make films under his own name again in 1977 with Le Fond de l'air est rouge (English title: A Grin Without A Cat).

Creatively reworking his life as if editing one of his own films, Marker made films on other filmmakers during the '80s and '90s, including the renowned One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich. He also explored video and computer-generated imagery with a continued emphasis on the intersection between personal and political themes in films such as The Case of the Grinning Cat, which was released in English in 2006.

A pioneer auteur filmmaker and an original voice in world cinema for over 50 years, Marker passed away on his birthday, July 29, 2012. He is widely accepted to be one of the most innovative and influential filmmakers in modern cinema history.

Chris MarkerIcarus Films is proud to distribute over 15 of Chris Marker's films, including Bestiary, a collection of his short animal films, as well as Far From Vietnam and Class of Struggle—two collaborative productions that he helped initiate. Icarus Films also distributes a film about Marker's legacy: To Chris Marker, An Unsent Letter, a posthumous homage by Emiko Omori.

The Chris Marker Collection at Icarus Films

  • The Case of the Grinning Cat (2004) - In one of his most celebrated films, Marker reflects on French and international politics, art and culture at the start of the new millennium.

  • Remembrance of Things to Come (2001) - Marker's study of photographer Denise Bellon is acclaimed for its deployment of still photos and rapid shuttle of wit and philosophy. 

  • One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich (1999) - A creative and intimate homage to Marker's friend, the great Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky.

  • Level Five (1996) - In this stylish and mysterious film, a game developer played by Catherine Belkhodja must finish writing a video game on the Battle of Okinawa.

  • Blue Helmet (1995) - François Crémieux served as a French UN peacekeeper near the Bosnian town of Bihać. He never saw combat, but was left deeply shaken by the experience.

  • Chris Marker's Bestiary (1994) - An audience favorite, these inventive five short films are devoted to animals.

  • The Last Bolshevik (1993) - Marker's tribute to Russian film director Alexander Medvedkin.

  • Prime Time in the Camps (1993) - Bosnian refugees create a news program about their lives.

  • Berliner Ballade (1990) - Some months after the fall of the Berlin wall, Marker shot this passionate documentary, reflecting the state of the place and its spirit with remarkable acuity.

  • The Owl's Legacy (1989) - From “democracy” and “philosophy” to “mythology” and “misogyny”, a study of 13 Greek-origin words..

  • A Grin Without A Cat (1977) - Marker's epic film-essay on the world-wide political wars of the 60's and 70's: Vietnam, Che, May '68, Prague, Chile, and the fate of the New Left.

  • The Embassy (1973) - In this fiction films, political dissidents seek refuge in a foreign embassy after a military coup d'état in an unidentified country.

  • Class of Struggle (1969) - Workers at a watch factory depict their own labor struggles in this collective production.

  • Be Seeing You (A bientot, j'espere) (1968) - In another key labor film, workers at a textile factory go on strike for better wages and a different way of life.

  • The Sixth Side of The Pentagon (1967) - Chronicles the 1967 Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam march on the Pentagon.

  • Far from Vietnam (1967) - Marker's landmark collaboration with Jean-Luc Godard, Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch and Alain Resnais protests the Vietnam war.

  • Le Joli Mai (1963) - Working with legendary cinematographer Pierre Lhomme, Marker creates a quirky and iconic portrait of Paris and Parisians.

Related Film

  • To Chris Marker, An Unsent Letter - In her poetic tribute, Marker collaborator Emiko Omori examines his key works, including interviews with Marker scholars and friends.

Related Links:
Featured Filmmaker Index
New York Times obituary by Dennis Lim
A tribute by J. Hoberman in The New York Review of Books

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