Hommage to Chris Marker

January 28, 2013 | By French Culture

"Rarely has reality needed so much to be imagined." It is one of Chris Marker's most famous statements, and it gets to the heart of his lifelong investigation of the possibilities of documentary film. Much of Marker's work was documentary, but none of his films are straightforward, disinterested documents. From ¡Cuba Sí! (1961), a portrait of Fidel Castro and defense of his policies, to A Grin Without A Cat (1977), a look at the rise of leftist activism around the globe, he has depicted people trying to imagine another world and used his films to elaborate, support and refine those revolutionary visions. Perhaps his most well-known film, La Jetée (1962), is not a documentary at all, but a science-fiction story of a man who travels back in time to save the world from an oncoming apocalypse. The film, which inspired Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys, is also a story of the struggle to change history, to imagine the possibility of a new reality. 

Last fall, after Chris Marker's death at the age of 91, La cinematheque française hosted a tribute to his work. CUNY TV traveled to Paris to interview some of the participants, including Serge Toubiana, director of the cinematheque, and noted film historian Colin Maccabe.

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