Fandor: Chris Marker’s Image Index
As Europe’s grasp on the early 20th-century globe tightens into a death grip in REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS TO COME.
By Kevin B. Lee
Remembrance of Things to Come can safely be considered Chris Marker’s last great work (that is, unless you’re a fan of cat videos… and who isn’t?). At the sprightly age of eighty two, Marker collaborated with filmmaker Yannick Bellon on an essay documentary about Bellon’s mother Denise, an intrepid French photographer of the 1930s and 1940s whose images bear witness to French life as it slid inexorably into the most catastrophic period of the 20th century.
Marker’s narration, voiced by Alexandra Stewart, navigates a vast collection of Denise Bellon’s photographs to weave an agile and intensely observant account of the world these images depict, as well as an account of their maker’s odyssey in capturing them. Bellon was a member of the French Surrealist clique, whose uninhibited embrace of unsettling images informs her own photographic adventures. Disfigured World War I veterans; West African soldiers; Tunisian brothels; an ill-fated invasion of Franco’s Spain: taken together they construct a stunning vision of Europe’s grasp on the 20th-century globe tightening into a death grip.