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Monday, July 25, 2011

Filmmaker Chris Marker -- who Inspired Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys -- Turns 90 This Week

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Fifty years after La Jetée -- the most radical and mesmerizing short work of speculative fiction in cinema history and the inspiration for Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys -- the world still hasn't caught up with Chris Marker. Then again, perhaps the visionary filmmaker's twin obsessions with memory and history aren't relevant to a species racing headlong for the Oblivion ride at Tomorrowland. But let's not be pessimistic, because Marker never has been, and he saw the worst of Franco, Hitler, Stalin, and Nixon. Instead, let's join in the global celebration of the French intellectual and renowned cat fanatic's 90th birthday. Thursday at the Exploratorium, Marker XC: Three Times Thirty highlights his métier, the film essay, with a trio of his lesser-known works fired in the cauldron of the student/worker foment of the late 1960s.

A still image from The Sixth Side of the Pentaogon. - ICARUS FILMS
  • Icarus Films
  • A still image from The Sixth Side of the Pentaogon.

Impressionistic and dangerously exciting, each short work thrusts the viewer into the middle of an urgent political action -- a Vietnam War protest in Washington, D.C. (The Sixth Side of the Pentagon); a strike at a French textile plant (À bientôt, j'espère/Be Seeing You); and a group's bid for asylum during a military takeover (The Embassy). One of film's true originals, Marker has always been both of his time and ahead of it.

"Marker XC: Three Times Thirty" begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 28, at the Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon (at Marina). Admission is free.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Michael Fox

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