Chris Marker Shorts Program
To Chris Marker, an Unsent Letter / Description of a Memory (Description d'un Combat)
To Chris Marker, an Unsent Letter
dir. Emiko Omori, USA, 2013, digital, 78 min.
To Chris Marker, an Unsent Letter, directed by Emmy-award winning cinematographer and filmmaker Emiko Omori, is a contemplative essay whose form is inspired by Marker's signature style (Omori’s credits include Marker's The Owl's Legacy). Alongside Omori's thoughts and recollections of the filmmaker, and her examinations of some of his key works, the film incorporates interviews with Marker associates and admirers, including film critic David Thomson, film programmers Tom Luddy and Peter Scarlet, filmmakers Marina Goldovskaya and Michael H. Shamberg, 12 Monkeys screenwriters Janet and David Peoples, computer scientist Dirk Kuhlmann, and many others. Their warm reflections join Omori's to examine the legacy of a filmmaker as beloved as he was enigmatic.
Description of a Memory
dir. Dan Geva, Israel, 2007, digital, English, Hebrew, Arabic, & French w/ English subtitles, 80 min.
Description of a Memory is a film within a film; it examines the complexities of Israel's history through the lens of Chris Marker's 1960 film Description of a Struggle (Description D'un Combat), a portrait of the country made 13 years after its founding. Marker went to Israel as an outsider, looking to discover the spirit of the young country through its "language of signs." He found a place whose unique moral and political obligations could provide a new, humane model of nationhood to the world. In Description of a Memory, director Dan Geva, an Israeli, explores what has happened in his homeland in the years since Marker’s film with a more critical eye, asking whether the promises Marker identified have been fulfilled. Structured by thirteen memories, the film is an open-ended, essayistic meditation on the distance between the ideals that fueled the creation of Israel and the realities of its history.
"Apart from the inspiration and the homage, there is first the sheer beauty of the film itself, its unflinching pace, the perfection of the soundtrack and the boldness of the image. As for my film, with an immense generosity you (Dan Geva) extracted the few elements that could still make sense, and raised them to the level where it is possible to deal with all the essential themes of today." —Chris Marker