DVD Review: The Chris Marker Collection

Cast you mind back to a time before the internet. One of the only ways to discover what wonders the world held in store was through the medium of documentary. Writer, photographer, documentary film maker, multimedia artist and film essayist, Chris Marker was a man of many talents. Associated with the Left Bank Cinema movement, his most well-known films are probably La Jetée & Sans Soleil.

The boxset contains:

Sunday in Peking (Dimanche à Pékin, 1956)
Letter to Siberia (Lettre de Sibérie, 1958)
Description of a Struggle (Description d’un combat, 1960)
The Sixth Side of the Pentagon (La Sixième face du Pentagone, 1968)
The Embassy (L’Ambassade, 1973)
Theory Of Sets (Théorie des ensembles, 1991)
Three Video Haikus (Trois Video Haikus, 1994)
Blue Helmet (Casque Bleu, 1996)
E-CLIP-SE (1999)
The Case of The Grinning Cat (Chats Perchés, 2004)

The collection spans most of the French director’s career, with a mix of feature length films and documentary shorts. There’s Blu-ray version of two of the highlights on offer: Sunday in Peking and Letter to Siberia. Carefully restored, these are wonderful films, full of colour and life; highlighting Marker’s eye for a good shot and playful nature. He manages to document scenes of every day life with a great lightness and beauty, accompanied by an almost poetic voiceover.

The collection also highlights his interest in political and social issues around the world. Coming from a leftist background, Marker’s dry commentary is laced with icy jibes and tongue in cheek observations. The Embassy is a clever play on the genre whilst Description of a Struggle is a much more serious work. There’s a move towards being more experimental in his later works, and whilst it doesn’t always quite come off, there’s still moments of fascination.

The Chris Marker Collection is available in a Blu-ray + DVD release from Soda Pictures on June 02

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