Sans Soleil

Chris Marker Bio


In a Tokyo bar named for his film, La Jetée, Chris Marker has his photograph taken by Wim Wenders near the set of  Tokyo-Ga (Wim Wenders, 1985).   For the photograph, Marker holds up two dot-matrix drawings, one of an owl and one of a cat.[1]    In an article titled “Email Messages from Chris Marker,” Gary Crowdus, editor in chief of Cineaste (2004-2008), recalls to have occasionally exchanged messages with Marker before Marker’s passing in 2012.   When asked about his biography, Marker writes:

As for my biography, it’s true that I don’t elaborate often about myself, and that leaves room for falsities.   Sartre wasn’t directly my teacher, I was in a different class, but since he used to prolong his course with informal encounters in a nearby café (something unique in French academies, and quite Socratic), I was among the lucky ones.   And the army stuff is simple:  after the Battle of the Bulge, the Third Army (Patton) badly needed reinforcements, so my Free French unit was temporarily put under U.S. command…[2]

[1] Jason Simon, “Marker’s Archive,”  Log, No. 13/14, Aftershocks: Generation(s) since 1968 (Fall 2008), (208).

[2] Email Messages from Chris Marker, Cinéaste, Vol. 43, No. 3 (SUMMER 2018), (9).

Crowdus emphasizes Marker’s love for his beloved cat and refers to Icarus Films website for Marker’s films distributed through Icarus.[1]   Cult classics,  La Jetée and Sans Soleil are known films in Marker’s oeuvre.  Crowdus communicated with Marker about The Case of the Grinning Cat (2004), The Last Bolshevik (1993), and mentions Owls at Noon (multimedia installation shown at MoMA in 2017).  Chris Marker’s interest in portraits never excludes the subject’s environment:

The close-up portraits by other photographers, where the focus is on the landscape of the face, would be anathema to Marker.[2]




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