IDFF Jihlava retrospective on Chris Marker

    IDFF Jihlava presents large retrospective of the work of a french film legend - film director Chris Marker

    Chris Marker undoubtedly belongs to major French film directors of the second half of 20th century. While unjustly overshadowed by names such as Jean-Luc Godard or François Truffaut, he also had his say in major changes of the present audiovisual culture. This year's Jihlava festival has the honour to present his vast work as one of the most detailed and exhaustive retrospective ever organised for Chris Marker. The film presentation will be followed by a literary monograph to be published in December in 20/21 series.

    CHRIS MARKERScreenplay, actors, text...all this means nothing to me. Film is an enclosed whole. I make my way through the film intuitively, while its individual parts gradually fit in as if in an imaginary gear mechanism. I never ask if, why, how...

    (Chris Marker for Le Monde February 20, 1997)

    The film director, photographer, journalist, poet, writer and traveller Chris Marker (his real name being Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve) was born, according to the birth register of the Paris city district Neulily, on 29th July 1921. However, information regarding his origin and childhood is often conflicting and confusing, which Marker himself is happy to encourage by adding more and more discrepancies. As a rule, he doesn't like interviews (when asked to give an interview he once replied: "If you must write something, use your imagination!"). As if the author's personality was in a perfect union with his own work: trying to grasp the nature of reality with all its contrasts and ambiguities using the means of film, and reveal a hidden structure in the incessant flow of information, and understand the way it works.

    Chris Marker acquired his film education gradually as a flow of impulses and emotions during film shows in Paris in Henri Langlois film library. His films are best perceived as a flow of associations, accompanied by music and defined by editing. He refuses to show in public his first, avowedly leftist pictures. He has remade some of them several times. His attitude to organising his own retrospectives is similarly negative, and he never attends them. He stood at the birth of several creative initiatives - groups SLON, ISKRA or Medvedkin, which sympathise with the legacy of a forgotten film director Alexander Medvedkin (for him, a film was collective work in which even the film protagonists participate: the film is there to help them understand their own selves). First of those groups emerged in French Besançon in 1967 and IDFF Jihlava will present its complete work. Since the 80ies, Marker has not only shot films, he has also published interactive CD-ROMs, prepared videoinstallations and other experimental projects. In his career, he has worked with a number of significant film directors (e.g. Alain Resnais, Joris Ivens, Walerian Borowczyk, Dusan Makaveyev, etc.) also as a cameraman, editor or the author of commentary.

    The following pictures, among others, will be presented in Jihlava:

    Description of a Struggle (1952) - origination of Israel as the state of a new nation, of a progress astride between the science and religion;

    La jetté (1962) - apocalyptic vision composed of still photographs (with one exception). "A film" completed with an elaborate soundtrack became the plot for Gilliamov's12 Monkeys;

    Le Joli mai (1963) - famous film-survey is an anthropologic and sociologic probe into the life of Paris and thinking of its inhabitants shortly following the war in Algeria;

    The Koumiko Mystery (1965) - Marker's first encounter with its lifelong passion - Japan, which reached the climax with the film Sunless;

    Far from Vietnam (1967) - one of the most important films of the militant cinema is a collective work of Godard, Ivens, Klein, Lelouch, Marker, Resnais, Vard;

    The Sixth Face of the Pentagon (1967) - political reportage from the demonstration against the war in Vietnam, co-directed by François Reichenbach;

    The Embassy (1973) - a false documentary a political fairy-tale? In any case a "documentary" mystification on French asylum seekers - refugees from an anonymous dictatorship regime.

    A Grin Without a Cat (1977) - a documentary fresco with a telling subtitle Scenes of the Third World War 1967-1977, a part of which is dedicated to the event of the Prague Spring. The first 240 minute-long version will be shown;

    Sunless (1982) - the story takes place between Japan and Africa; a film essay on storytelling through image based on the music composition principle;

    Level Five (1996) - the battle of Okinawa, a game strategy and today's on-line culture mixed with Marker-like associations. Starring Catherine Belkhodja.

    Chris Marker's Films in Jihlava accompanied by famous guests:

    Catherine Belkhodja
    Chris Marker's charming muse and a workmate, Catherine Belkhodja was born in Algeria. She grew up in North Africa and started studying theatre, music and the art of painting there. She completed her university studies in Paris, first trying philosophy, but finally graduating in architecture. Her subsequent career of an artist has been as rich as was her life of a student. Catherine Belkhodja is a renowned photographer, actress, journalist, filmmaker and haiku poet. Apart from several movies, the main project she completed in co-operation with Marker is the exhibition Silent Movie, combining her own photographs, scenes from selected archive movies, and posters to Marker's pictures that have never been realised.

    Inger Servolin
    She was one of the drivers of a group, which was formed around Chris Marker from 1966/67, when SOFRACIMA was producing Far from Vietnam. In 1968, she was asked to set up a production company SLON (a pun referring to a Russian word ‘slon' meaning ‘elephant', and an abbreviation which stands for Service de Lancement des Œuvres Nouvelles - Company for Presentation of New Works). It supported mainly independent filmmakers, regardless of their origin. Its successor was ISKRA. Inger Servolin stood at the birth of many major documents by Chris Marker, Alain Resnais and Medvedkin group of Besançon, whose complete work she will present in Jihlava. While she is a key person of ISKRA, she can't be referred to as the director, because neither SLON nor ISKRA accept such hierarchy, a view shared by all employees.

    A book about Chris Marker to be published in 20/ 21 series

    JSAF will publish a book dedicated to the director as a part of 20/ 21 series (following Jean-Luc Godard: Texts and Interviews of 2005). A compendium of adapted studies on selected Marker's films and his self-contained works completed by an original monograph written by David Čenek, a Czech film historian. "Chris Marker no longer believes in the power of cinema. He prohibited the public screening of a number of his films insisting that films are like yogurt: they have their expiry date, which, for most of his films of the 50ies and 60ies, has already expired. The director's attitude to his own films alone must be found attractive by the audience, as it forces us to see films as constantly changing and developing works of art ..." says the author.

    You are invited to the Jihlava IDFF on 23-28 October by:

    Marek Hovorka / festival director / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Andrea Slováková / media manager / 774 101 658 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Jan Hlubek / press service / 723 394 769 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Alena Marcová / production / 774 101 655 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    General Partners

    RWE Transgas, a.s./ Jihomoravská plynárenská, a.s.

    Main Partner

    Česká spořitelna a.s.

    Main Media Partner

    Czech Television

    Co-organiser of the industry section

    Institute of Documentary Film





    Student Agency

    Main Regional Partner


    Regional Partner

    PSJ holding

    Festival supported by:

    Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic

    State Fund for the Support and Development of Czech Cinematography

    City of Jihlava

    MEDIA Programme

    Vysočina Region

    International Visegrad Fund

    Media Partners



    MF Plus

    A2 kulturní týdeník

    Rádio 1

    Literární noviny

    Film a doba


    Regional Media Partners

    Czech Radio Region

    Jihlavské listy


    MF Dnes Vysočina

    SNIP & Co.

    TB media

    Foreign Media Partners

    Kino Ikon

    ¾ revue

    Media Cooperation

    Sedmá generace

    Vysočina - news


    Last modified on 29-10-2007