The Case of the Grinning Cat

Chats perchés

- FRANCE / 2004 / French / Color / Video / 58 min

Director, Photography: Chris Marker
Producer: Laurence Braunberger
Production Company, Source: Les Films du Jeudi

A few months following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Marker begins to see “M.CHAT,” cat cartoons drawn in graffiti on the streets of Paris. Moved by the humanism of these grinning cats, he begins to follow their tracks. In a portrait of the times, Marker juxtaposes these M.CHAT with the political and social movements of the early 2000s––the French presidential election, the Iraq War, the Islamic headscarf controversy in France, and other developments.


New Regard about Olympia 52

Regard neuf sur Olympia 52

- FRANCE / 2012 / French / Color / Blu-ray / 80 min

Director: Julien Faraut
Production Companies: INSEP, Films à cinq
Source: Tamasa Distribution

In 1952, Marker shot a documentary about the Helsinki Olympics called Olympia 52. This film would become his first as director, but remained shelved for a long period of time by Marker’s own decision. 60 years later, Julien Farau received Marker’s consent to reconstruct the images of Olympia 52, rediscovering Marker’s camerawork as ahead of its time.

Special Events Zapping Yamagata

- Etienne Sandrin, curator of a large, upcoming retrospective on Chris Marker to be held at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, France from October 16th to December 16th, will make a short trip to Japan to provide a multi-faceted introduction to Marker’s world through film, photographs, recitals, text, and music.

Lecture: “The Cat-Headed Man”
by Etienne Sandrin (Curator, Pompidou Centre)
Reading: “Le Dépays”
by Etienne Sandrin (Curator, Pompidou Centre) and
Fukuzaki Yuko (President, Chris Marker Fan Club)

In Conclusion, and as a Start

It may have been ten years since I last worked as a coordinator at the Yamagata Film Festival, but I was in some ways conscious of the fact I had assumed the role of a veteran. So when I first received the list of Chris Marker’s films in my home in Connecticut, I was not fazed and smoothly began my trip into the realm of Marker. But soon afterwards, I found that differences in language and culture made negotiations more difficult than I had imagined, and the lack of speedy progress produced conflicts and confusion. Already faced with a multiplicity of formats within the large number of works that we wanted show from Marker’s long career, I unconsciously began tearing my hair out when I heard there were works without French or English subtitles. Marker himself would not have liked such an absence. For instance, his masterpiece Sans soliel has French, English, Portuguese, German and Japanese versions, with the narrator of each selected according to Marker’s wishes. Marker performs his work like an orchestra conductor, precisely calculating the timing and content of the images, texts, music, and narration of each version. With these, Marker’s corpus expands even further, becoming even more complex and intelligent.

The encounter between Marker’s works and YIDFF began to form new layers, ones that spread to every genre before we knew it, forcing even the most professional members of the staff to update their mindset or try new measures. Furthermore, the ubiquitous cat Guillaume (Marker’s alter ego) attracted many things like a magnet. Like a link in cyberspace, he will probably interact and resonate with the audience, appearing in front of them as the union of individual memory and the place of Yamagata.

In putting together this program, we received the assistance and advice of many people. I would like to use this occasion to thank them all.

- Ono Seiko
Program Coordinator