Chris Marker was born Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, July 29, 1921. In World War II he joined the Maquis (FTP). After the war he began to write and make films. He traveled to many socialist countries and documented what he saw in films and books. Les statues meurent aussi (1953) which he codirected with Alain Resnais was one of the first anticolonial films.
He became known internationally for the short film La Jetée (1962). It tells of a post-nuclear war experiment in time travel by using a series of filmed photographs developed as a photomontage of varying pace with limited narration and sound effects. This film was the inspiration for Mamoru Oshii's debut live action feature The Red Spectacles (1987) (later for Avalon) and also inspired Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys (1995).
In 1982 Marker finished Sans Soleil, stretching the limits of what could be called a documentary. It is an essay, a montage, mixing pieces of documentary with fiction and philosophical comments, creating an atmosphere of dream and science fiction. The main themes are Japan, Africa, (the erasing of) memory and travel. A sequence in the middle of the film takes place in San Francisco, and heavily references Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.
Beginning with Sans Soleil he developed a deep interest in digital technology, which led to his film Level 5 (1996) and Immemory (1998, 2008), an interactive multimedia CD-ROM, produced for the Centre Pompidou (French language version) and from Exact Change (English version). Marker created a 19 minute multimedia piece in 2005 for The Museum of Modern Art in New York titled Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men which was influenced by T. S. Eliot's poem.
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