French film-maker Marker dead at 91
PARIS, July 30 — Chris Marker, an influential French film-maker, writer and intellectual, has died at the age of 91, friends and colleagues said today.
Marker collaborated with cinema greats including Akira Kurosawa, Costa-Gavras and Alain Resnais over the course of a career spanning six decades in which he made over 50 films, many of them inspired by his left-wing and anti-colonial politics.
He was best-known for his 1962 short-film "La Jetee" (The Pier), a story of a survivor of a future war travelling back in time to relive his own death.
The highly stylised film inspired Terry Gilliam's "12 Monkeys" sufficiently for Marker to be credited as one of the writers on the 1995 feature.
His documentaries included "Cuba Si", a favourable 1961 profile of Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution, and 1967's "Far from Vietnam" (Loin du Vietnam), a collaboration with other leading European directors opposed to US involvement in southeast Asia.
After several years working for a collective aiming to promote film-making by France's industrial workers, Marker won further acclaim for 1977's "Le fond de l'air est rouge" (A Grin without a Cat), a nuanced reflection on the revolutionary events of May 1968 and their aftermath.
In 1985, he released "A.K.", a documentary profile of Kurosawa that was shot during the Japanese director's filming of his epic "Ran".
His final short film, "Leila Attacks", was released on the Internet in 2007.
Gilles Jacob, the president of the Cannes film festival, described Marker as a "curious spirit, an indefatigable film and video maker, a cat-loving poet, a secret person and an immense talent."
The Cinematheque Francaise paid tribute to Marker's unique mastery of the "art of poetic film-making."
Cinema critic Jean-Michel Frodon, a friend of Marker, said the director had died at his home in Paris yesterday, his 91st birthday.
For a film-maker who repeatedly returned to the themes of memory and history, Marker was guarded about the details of his own life.
He was born Christian-Francois Bouche-Villeneuve in the wealthy Paris suburb of Neuilly but told some interviewers that he had been born in Mongolia. He eschewed publicity, refusing to be photographed or to present his films. — AFP/Relaxnews