Academic journal article Millennium Film Journal

In Memoriam: Chris Marker (1921-2012)

Academic journal article Millennium Film Journal

In Memoriam: Chris Marker (1921-2012)

Article excerpt

Chris Marker died on his 91st birthday, July 29, at his home in Paris s 20th arrondissement (métro stop: Maraîchers). To his countless correspondents, the only admission of failing health was what we might deduce from the emailed images he began to send a few months earlier: portraits of nurses, smiling at the camera, and often taken from the point of view of someone in a bed, the nurses stationed at the other end. Sometimes the portraits would be identified by name, other times not; one in particular he described as the face of "human kindness." After I'd seen about two dozen of these images, I summoned the nerve to ask him outright about his health, knowing already that he wouldn't say, but I felt I had to ask. He did respond (he always did), but not to my question. I suppose one day we'll know, though that won't be a day that Chris would like.

Virtually every obituary of Chris pegged him as a mythic 'recluse', presumably due to his not wanting to be photographed or interviewed. I never quite understood why those two eminently reasonable aversions should be taken as signs of eccentricity, but in Chris's situation, they were. In any case, he was hardly a recluse; as his last film, Chats Perchés, demonstrates, he thrived on the street, amidst the crowd, and he continued that well into his 90th year. But his deepest nature directed him to be both private and modest, and if that caused others to regard him as 'enigmatic' or 'mysterious', he couldn't be bothered to argue. …

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