Sunday 30th March /// Ha'penny Bridge Inn (upstairs) /// 4pm

(France, 1962, 29 mins, B&W)
La Jeteé (1963) is one of Marker's few fictional efforts. Done as a series of stills, the 27-min. story follows a man who is scared by an incident from his youth where he sees the most beautiful woman ever, and then a man dying. He grows up and survives World War III, only to live a meager existence underground with the remaining people of France. He is prompted by those in charge to be a part of an experiment — one notorious for leaving men insane or broken. The project's goal is to send someone through time to get help and supplies, and because he's fixated on this woman, the man is the first to successfully take himself back in time. And because of that, he's able to meet, and eventually romance the girl of his (in this case literal) dreams. But his contemporaries have other plans for him and his gift. The short-film subject is often perilous for filmmakers — too often such works feel like half-movies or unfinished thoughts. Such is why La Jeteé is easily one of the best shorts ever created. Indelible, elegant, and haunting, it is a complete and brilliant experiment delivered in the exact amount of time required for this narrative. And the central force of its cinema — told entirely in black-and-white stills — is not simple gimmickry, but Marker's commentary on memory and how we place things. The film has its influences — Marker shows his hand by paying homage to Hitchcock's Vertigo, but the rhythms and sentiments are all Marker's. It also spawned Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys, which is broader in scope (and budget) but does not improve on the simple notions presented herein.

(USA, 1964, 10 mins aprox., B&W).
"The best Irish film", Gilles Deleuze.
The film opens and closes with close-ups of a sightless eye. This inevitably evokes the notorious opening sequence of Luis Buñuel´s "Un Chien Andalou" in which a human eye is sliced open with a razor blade. In fact The Eye was an early title for Film, though admittedly, at that time, he had not thought of the need for the opening close-up. Beckett was a student of French literature and was familiar with Irish philosopher George BERKELEY´s notion of "Esse es percipi" (to be is to be perceived), and probably also with Victor HUGO’s poem La Conscience. ‘Conscience’ in French can mean ether ‘conscience’ in the English sense, or ‘consciousness’ and the double meaning is important. The poem concerns a man -BUSTER KEATON- haunted by an eye that stares at him unceasingly from the sky. He runs away from it, ever further, even to the grave, where, in the tomb, the eye awaits him. The man is Cain. He has been trying to escape consciousness of himself, the self that killed his brother, but his conscience will not let him rest. The eye/I is always present and, when he can run no further, must be faced in the tomb.”

(France, 1983, 100 mins, color)
Twenty years later, Marker delivered 1983's Sans Soleil ("Sun Less") from a collection of letters and footage from Sandor Krasna. Krasna's interests parallel Marker's (and though neither the film suggest it, it's been revealed that Krasna is a Marker pseudonym), as he spends time in Japan looking at cat statues — Marker has an obsession with cats and owls — and Iceland, where he sees the happiest moment in three children walking in a field, but also the destruction of their town by an underwater volcano. Krasna also ventures to San Francisco, where he goes to all the locations of his favorite movie Vertigo and observes how little has changed in the 25 years since the film was made. The film is a globe-hopping travelogue, though much of the action is set in Africa and Japan, and mostly Japan. It's there where Krasna observes — in his own curious way — the modern world. Fascinated and repulsed by television, he finds an interesting soul in Hayao Yamaneko, who is a video artist, and feels that he can capture life through video and video games. Sans Soleil is the very definition of a tone-poem, and it marks a high point in the documentary/filmed essay genre, to which Marker is decidedly a progenitor. What makes it so fascinating is Marker's peculiar rhythms — it's a film to sink into, to (as others have suggested) absorb Marker's strange, near-alien frequency.

(16mm 5 minutes color & b/w 2002 music by Charlemagne Palestine)
What happens when the smoke clears?
One of the most remarkable sights was the mass movement of people, on foot, along highways usually reserved for motorized traffic. The Brooklyn & Manhattan bridges, as well as the FDR Drive, which runs along the East River from lower to upper Manhattan, became human rivers with an unhurried but steady flow & no end in sight.
The gnawing question raised by "Ce qui arrive..." (What happens ... , officially translated as "Unknown Quantity"), the exhibition at the Fondation Cartier conceived by technology theorist Paul Virilio and cocurated by Leanne Sacramone, is how this trial run for Virilio's prospective "Museum of Accidents" could possibly have fixed on the destruction of the World Trade Center as the exemplary case. Yet at the core of this show, labeled "The Accident," five extemporaneous recordings of the event by Tony Oursler, Moira Tierney, Jonas Mekas, and Wolfgang Staehle established an unequivocal center of gravity that pulled ineluctably on thirteen similarly shrouded black-box film installations selected, one can only imagine, less along the lines of intrinsic interest or quality than of brute homeomorphism: smoke (Peter Hutton), explosion (Bruce Conner, Cai Guo-Qiang), demolition (Dominic Angerame), anomie (Peter Hutton, Jem Cohen). Although the images of September II could easily have been snipped from the audiovisual continuum that Virilio has so frequently vilified, they nonetheless plugged into (if not to say exploited) our inchoate ideas and active anxieties about terrorist networks and imminent geopolitical upheaval--not accidents - Artforum February 2003.