• This week we lost one of the great artists of the past century, Chris Marker. Though best known for his 1962 La Jetée, a science-fiction epic in miniature told through black-and-white still photographs, and his 1983 Sans Soleil, a personal travelogue that, in puzzling over the modern world, takes us from Tokyo to West Africa and beyond, Marker had an expansive career that encompassed political documentaries, journalism, photography, and many forms of interactive digital media. His highly fluid ouevre is dotted with fascinating oddities—like the six-minute film we present here, Junkopia. Codirected by Frank Simeone and John Chapman, this wordless documentary was filmed at the Emeryville Mudflats outside of San Francisco in July 1981, while Marker was also shooting the Vertigo sections of Sans Soleil. Its meditative, eerie images reappropriate pieces of detritus, turning them into objects of strange beauty.

10 comments

  • By Evan S.
    August 03, 2012
    04:26 AM

    Thanks for sharing this. Chris Marker was truly an inspiration for me. I hope more of his shorts and other work gets more recognition in the future. Thank you for being at the forefront of that effort.
    Reply
  • By Dean Estes
    August 03, 2012
    01:24 PM

    I remember those junk sculptures at the Emeryville flats well. They were a lot of fun to see while driving by. Too bad they're all gone now, but it's great that Mr. Marker documented one moment of their existence.
    Reply
  • By Earl
    August 03, 2012
    04:03 PM

    Doth I see a Chris Marker Eclipse set on the horizon?
    Reply
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    • By futurestar
      August 06, 2012
      01:30 PM

      that might be trying to fit round circles into square pegs - an improbable puzzle but one wishing any try at resolve and presentation of his huge vault of wonder works.
  • By futurestar
    August 03, 2012
    05:00 PM

    Chris Marker was a true visionary, personal mystery, profound visual essayist, enigma to most of the world, a prophet, plus close friend to a select few. He was there when Alan Resnais got his start doing documentaries, and was invited by Andrei Tarkovsky to share and film his last few moments before leaving this realm. He was way hip before anyone knew what he had just finished would be a future trend. A renaissance man from a world largely misunderstanding him until it was too late. HIs visual gifts are immortal. Thanks for passing our way. The unraveling will last forever.
    Reply
  • By Russell Fry
    August 03, 2012
    05:46 PM

    Was this the same place that was filmed in Harold and Maude? They are sitting at a water's edge, next to a highway, among a bunch of folk art/junk sculptures (the scene where you discover Maude's tattoo...). I've tried to compare the two, but since they are filmed 10 years apart from each other they look quite different, the sculptures are even more rustic and less complex. I can only imagine that in ten years it could have easily evolved into what we see Junkopia. If anyone has any info on this please let me know, I'd be very interested in some of the history of this place or places.
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    • By Jonathan Rimorin
      August 06, 2012
      05:46 PM

      Yes, it's the same place from Harold and Maude, in Emeryville, CA (close to where Pixar is now).
  • By dr_jacobie
    August 03, 2012
    09:33 PM

    i know he was 91 years old but when i read that chris marker had died i got surprisingly choked up. "futurestar" said it more eloquently than i can, but yeah he'll be missed immeasurably because of the way his work touched the people who bothered to invest the time and energy to seek out real poetry. i hope that criterion continues to be involved with his work so that it will be assured to be treated with the dignity it deserves. i wish i could have met him, bumped into him at the "la jetee" bar in tokyo and just have told him, "thank you, sincerely thank you."
    Reply
  • By Cliff Burns
    August 28, 2012
    04:03 PM

    Hopefully, more and more of Chris Marker's work will be uncovered and released, a feast for cineastes for a long time to come. I always admired that he fought against the cult of personality and celebrity that 20th century cinema (and art) devolved into, preferring to work incognito, pursuing his own daring experiments and dream diaries, adhering to a very personal and uncompromising aesthetic. He was an inspiration--unprecedented and irreplaceable. He won't see his likes again...
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    • By karl straub
      August 29, 2012
      10:38 AM

      I'd also like to see more of Chris Marker's stuff on Criterion. I only know the two films on the Criterion disc, but they are both excellent. When "Sans Soleil" was in my local theater, I went to see it two or three times and it really affected me. I consider it one of the great films.

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