A French man whose work inspired cult film The Terminator is to be acknowledged by a leading Parisian academic next week. As part of this year’s Cork French Film Festival, an event organised by Alliance Française de Cork and University College Cork will see lecturer in Film History at La Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris Jonathan Broda present Chris Marker: Entre Poétique et Politique on Thursday, March 7th.
The one-hour lecture, explains Broda, is to examine why Chris Marker’s creative use of sound, imagery and text in his poetic, political and philosophical films made him one of the most inventive and influential of French filmmakers.
“(He) was one of the more respected French directors of the second part of the 20th century. He understood the ‘Agnès Varda’ style. They started in the same time with the same energy, inspired by others and full with an assumed subjectivity,” Broda tells Play.
Marker, who died last year at the age of 91, is perhaps best known for La Jetée, which is considered one of the most influential, radical science-fiction films ever made. Set in a nuclear-devastated Paris in the near future, the film tells the story of a man marked by an image from his childhood. Shot in black and white and consisting almost entirely of still photographs, it imaginatively pares cinema down to its bare bones and twists cherished versions of reality inside out.
“The movie is the perfect definition of a cult movie, Marker never looked to be integrated in a company system, so the movie could be discovered through a wild or arty dimension," outlines Broda. “The beauty of the photographs, the harmony of the edit and the creativity of the sound design are integrated into a mysterious subject."
The film went onto influence Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys and David Bowie's video Jump They Say. The Time Traveler’s Wife also took inspiration in the relationship between the two lead characters and in 2010, Time magazine ranked La Jetée first in its list of Top 10 time-travel movies.
Broda explains that countries such as England and America are more influenced by the movie than the French because the sci-fi genre is not a French specialty. "David Bowie or even Ridley Scott with Blade Runner; Terry Gilliam and also James Cameron in The Terminator understood and created something different but directly linked to La Jetée,” he says.