Susan Howe on Chris Marker


Forthcoming from the Poetry Pamphlets series by New Directions, American poet Susan Howe on Chris Marker, French filmmaker whose La Jetée was remade by Terry Gilliam as 12 Monkeys:

The French documentary filmmaker, photographer, and traveler, Chris Marker, was a poet first. Marker’s twenty eight minute ‘La Jetée’, written and photographed during the early 1960s, imagines a third world war. A man, marked by an image from his childhood, travels through some intertranslational fragmented mirror memory to the original line of fracture no translation will pacify. Many pilots, men and women, survived, though they didn’t survive, collective military service during World War II. ‘La Jetée’ (1962) and ‘Sans Soleil’ (1982) are haunted by indwelling flames of spirit. In the beginning of each Marker film jet planes escape the eye of the camera. One is overhead roaring murder. We see the other being concealed under the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. ‘La Jetée’ is called a ciné-roman; ‘Sans Soleil’ a documentary.