Chris Marker, 1921-2012
<table><tr><td>Chris Marker was born somewhere. No one is sure where it was. He was not eager to let anyone know. During the Nazi occupation of France he served in the resistance, although it is unknown what tasks or missions he undertook.
In 1961, he filmed a movie called <em>!Cuba Si!</em>, a pro-Cuban documentary. While in Cuba, the US attempted and failed to invade the island. His movie was subsequently banned in the US once it was completed.
In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis took place, where both the Communists and the Capitalists decided it might be a good idea to destroy the Earth. That same year, Marker created his film <em>La Jetee</em>. In the film, a nuclear holocaust has destroyed the earth and forced the remainder of the population underground. The lives of the survivors are controlled and dominated by the schemes of the governing classes. The protagonist of the film is a prisoner who is chosen by the governors to be a test subject in their time travel project, the goal of which is contact people in the past and the future in the hope of returning the population to the surface of the earth.</td><td><img title="Not worth it, it sucks up here" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/chris-marker.jpg"></td></tr...
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The protagonist is ultimately successful in contacting people from the future who give him a power module that will provide infinite energy to his contemporaries. The people from the future also offer him the ability to escape from time. He refuses, however, preferring to return to the past to find a woman he met during his time travels. When he meets up with her at an airport, he realizes he had been there before as a young child. At the airport as a child, he had also seen a man die. The moment he sees the woman at the airport is the moment he realizes that he had witnessed his own death as a child. The movie end as a prison guard from the underground world kills him.
In the years that followed, Marker began working with a group that encouraged workers to make their own films. It was his hope that cinema would fall out of the hands of the specialists. He lent his aid to whomever needed it, although his center of gravity was the Communist offensive against Capitalism. His eye was critical. His heart lay with the people he interviewed. His passion was for the forgotten, the ignored, the spontaneous.
In 1977, as the offensive against Capitalism came to a close, he completed his film <em>A Grin Without A Cat. </em>The film laments, documents, and champions the numerous rebellions, insurrections, upsurges, and betrayals that took place from the late 1950's to the late 1970's.
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This document is the most precious of all that came from that era. It shows the mundane, the pompous, the inspiring, and the horrendous aspects of all that occurred during this period of rebellions. By the end of the film, it is clear that the true protagonists are the humans who lived through it, who made it happen, who watched it fail.
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Chris Marker would send pictures of himself to journalists. When they opened the envelopes he sent them, they would find the picture of a cat. Chris Marker was an anarchist for one reason: his mind never closed and he never hesitated to challenge any power, whether it was the Communist Party of France, Fidel Castro, or the film industry.
<em>A Grin Without A Cat </em>concludes with the following narration: “<em>Thus, our author marvels at the ingenuity of History, which always seems to have more imagination than ourselves. He thinks of the ending of the film he finished in 1977, where he compared the arms trade of the great powers with the plans carried out to keep the population of wolves at an acceptable level. Guess who they arm today? However, there is one comforting thought: fifteen years later, there are still some wolves left</em>.”
The film then ends with the following words cascading down the screen:
“<strong>The true authors of this film are the countless cameramen, technical operators, witnesses and militants whose work is constantly pitted against that of governments, who would like us to have no memory." </strong>
And now the walls of eternal Paris fill with his name, tagged on the walls of the city he had helped liberate, the city he filmed, the city he loved.