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Chris Marker: Imperfect Memory

Author: • Jul 18th, 2008 •

Category: Ballardosphere, Chris Marker, deep time, film, inner space, photography, science fiction

Ballardian: Chris Marker Ballardian: Chris Marker

This strange and poetic film, directed by Chris Marker, is a fusion of science fiction, psychological fable and photomontage, and creates in its unique way a series of potent images of the inner landscapes of time. Apart from a brief three-second sequence — a young woman’s hesitant smile, a moment of extraordinary poignancy, like a fragment of a child’s dream — the thirty-minute film is composed entirely of still photographs. Yet this succession of disconnected images is a perfect means of projecting the quantified memories and movements through time that are the film’s subject matter.

This familiar theme [time travel] is treated with remarkable finesse and imagination, its symbols and perspectives continually reinforcing the subject matter. Not once does it make use of the time-honoured conventions of traditional science fiction. Creating its own conventions from scratch, it triumphantly succeeds where science fiction invariably fails.

J.G. Ballard ‘La Jetée: Academy One’, New Worlds, 1966.

Chrismarker.org is an randomly-compiled, taxonomically naive and hopefully useful archive of ruminations, bibliographic & filmographic notations, untimely meditations, mnemonic minutiae and other glosses on the cinematic, written, photographic and multimedia work of world-citizen & time-traveler Chris Marker.

We welcome contributions in short article form from the global village that Marker helped to map. We also welcome Chris Marker news, links, memorabilia, aphorisms, quotations, images and stray insights. Contributions from animals are welcome too, of course, including but not limited to cats, owls, giraffes, emus and elephants (слоны).

Ballardian: Chris Marker

ABOVE: Still from La Jetée (1964; dir. Chris Marker).

Meanwhile, we leave the academic penal colony – to which we once belonged and from which we no doubt still bear the scars – to crunch through the seemingly inevitable canonization process, as it has done so well with Walter Benjamin. That may be just what awaits epigonically for the rare few who scribble & bricole in a deep, careful, dedicated, crafty and continuous manner with a master’s brilliance and an asystematic approach, in whatever medium, ahead (or outside) of their time.

You may notice that some of the material initially appearing on this site is a port of resources from the old and crumbling edifice of silverthreaded presents chris marker, once housed at a so-called tilde account at silcom.com, now still hanging around for old time’s sake at a nowherenear relevant domain called vajramedia.com, in and amongst the rubble of a disastrous project once known as Cinema Paranoia. Upon this shaky base we build, quoting mostly, writing little, ever fascinated by and admiring always the oeuvre of Chris Marker, le plus célèbre des cinéastes inconnus.

Chris Marker: Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory

Ballardian: Chris Marker

ABOVE: Still from Sans Soleil (1983; dir. Chris Marker).

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