Chris Marker, an experimental filmmaker of the Left Bank movement, passed away earlier today in Paris. He had just turned 91 yesterday.
As widely known as some of his films are, including 1962's La jetée, Marker was also a truly multifaceted talent. At the age of 28, he published his first novel and, two years later, he published an essay on French writer Jean Giraudoux. Along with this, Marker experimented with photography and befriended filmmakers such as Alain Resnais, with whom he would collaborate on films such as Statues Also Die (1953) and Night and Fog (1955). Such films, with their distinct stylistic and narrative approach, no doubt inspired the great essayists and documentarians of our time: Errol Morris, Agnès Varda, Marker, Resnais and others would come to be considered the central figures of the Left Bank movement. A contemporary of the French New Wave, the Left Bank consisted of filmmakers who were interested in experimental presentation and the influence of other art forms on film, unlike the film-obsessed members of the New Wave.
Today, Marker is credited with inventing the film essay. For any film lover, his tribute to Akira Kurosawa, 1985's A.K., is not only an enthralling study of Kurosawa at work, but Kurosawa the man. In 2007, a special edition of La jetée was released as part of the Criterion Collection. With the passing of Chris Marker, the world loses a truly unique talent; he may have not been as widely known as some of his contemporaries, but his achievements and cinematic innovations are no less influential.