Chris Marker’s Junkopia

On Film / Short Takes — Aug 2, 2012

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.