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Under Vertigo’s spell

J. Hoberman on the lost futures of Chris Marker:

I called Marker a “filmmaker” but it would more accurate to term him a “film artist.” His oeuvre encompasses movies, photography, videos, TV series, CD-ROMS, computer games, and gallery installations. Some of these might be considered memento mori, often for the film medium. Others propose cinema as a model for historical consciousness. “We can see the shadow of a film on television, the longing for a film, the nostalgia, the echo of a film, but never a film,” is a characteristic Marker observation; one of his favorite aphorisms is borrowed from George Steiner: “It is not the past that rules us—it is the image of the past.”

At once unsentimentally au courant and fixated on that past, Marker was the Janus of world cinema. His unclassifiable documentaries treat memory as the stuff of science fiction, a notion he shared with his early associate Alain Resnais. Hardly a Luddite, Marker thrived on technological paradox. A half-hour succession of still images evoking motion pictures as time travel, La Jetée could have been made for Eadweard Muybridge’s nineteenth-century zoopraxiscope.

[via A Piece of Monologue]

First posted: Tuesday, August 28th, 2012.

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