Chris Marker’s commitments
Best known as a film-maker, Chris Marker was also a journalist, a photographer, an editor, a multi-media artist and a writer. After WWII, he was a regular contributor to Esprit, where he wrote political commentaries, poems, short stories and film reviews. Starting with these texts, the May issue of Esprit explores how the variety of Markers’ intellectual and artistic production was brought together by the singular nature of his commitments. For him, political involvement, aesthetic judgement and moral obligation worked together.
Artistic biography: Chris Marker was eighteen when the war broke out and, as for his whole generation, the war experience was foundational, writes Olivier Mongin. Throughout his life and career as an artist, Marker returned to its meaning – not as the expression of fatality, but as recognition of the fleeting nature of happiness and the need to fight for freedom, independence and humanity. From his post-war critiques of colonialism and celebrations of national liberation movements to the three films he shot in the former Yugoslavia in the Nineties (recalled by François Crémieux), war remained a permanent theme in Marker’s political consciousness.
Technique and oeuvre: Chris Marker was always an experimental artist, who tried out different forms and techniques in a playful and almost childlike way, writes Carole Desbarats. He was also committed to collective work, working as assistant director for other directors such as Alain Resnais, or documenting the making of Ran by his ‘master’ Akira Kurosawa. His montages mixed documentary and fiction in essays that often dwelled on the intricacies of time and memory, as Nathalie Bittinger discusses. The issue also features Marker’s photographs of passengers on the metro and people on the street, courtesy of the Peter Blum Gallery in New York, collected by Jean-Michel Dars and Anne Papillault.
Source: The Eurozine Review, “Monster events”
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- ISBN 9782372340502