French film director and writer Chris Marker died on Monday, aged 91.
Born on July 29, 1921, the “craftsman” joined the French Resistance during the Second World War, then became a journalist. He stepped onto the French cultural scene as a writer, then became a filmmaker. From the 1950s onwards, he travelled the world directing documentaries, including one about the Helsinki Olympics (Olympia 52) and another about African art (Statues Also Die with Alain Resnais). His love of travel gave rise to many projects, including Letter from Siberia and Cuba Si.
In 1962, he made the The Pier, for which he won the Prix Jean Vigo, and in 1963 he and Pierre Lhomme together directed Joli Mai, a documentary featuring Yves Montand’s voice about Paris after the Evian Agreements. In 1967, he contributed to the ensemble film Far from Vietnam with Jean-Luc Godard, Agnès Varda, and Joris Ivens. In the wake of May 1968, he focused on militant film collective I.S.K.R.A., before returning to his own personal creations. In 1977, he made Grin Without a Cat, and in 1982 he directed the emblematic Sunless, which took the filmmaker from Guinea Bissau to Japan, and from Ile-de-France to Iceland.
Film critic Jean Michel Frodon and Cannes Film Festival president Gilles Jacob announced the news on Twitter. “A curious spirit, a tireless filmmaker, a poet in love with cats, a video director, a secretive character, an immense talent… We are Chris Marker’s orphans,” wrote the president of the Cannes Film Festival.