Who is, or rather, was Chris Marker? —Emiko Omori
This is the question that has dogged filmmaker Emiko Omori for over a decade, and guides his documentary To Chris Marker, An Unsent Letter, screening tonight and tomorrow at the Trylon. Omori had met Marker in 1974, after a screening of La Jetee, where he proceeded to try and convince Marker to be the subject of a cinematic homage. Startled, Marker simply said, “But I won’t be in it.” Originally thinking to title his project Portrait of an Invisible Man, Omori created a documentary of sorts, interviews of fellow filmmakers and fans, and images that might have inspired Marker.
“The ‘portrait’ would be built on the Rashomon principle,” Omori explains on the film’s website. “[I]mpressions and (imperfect) memories from various points of view–interpretations of their own reality while watching Marker’s reality.”
The result is an affectionate and mysterious movie which, though it may not be the documentary about Marker that his fans ardently desire, captures the essence of the man.
Marker’s last letter to Omori sums up the challenge of making a film about this most elusive of subjects: ” I understood you had ‘a project on me’… Perhaps you mentioned it already, and my unconscious simply erased it, for obvious reasons. If you knew how much I’d prefer to be forgotten now. The films are there, I did my share, the rest is silence.”