Chris Marker’s 1964 short, La Jetée, is told almost entirely in still images.
If you've passed by the TIFF Bell Lightbox in the last couple of weeks, you've surely noticed the striking black-and-white blow-ups from Chris Marker's La Jetée plastered across the windows.
They're part of an exhibition of the late filmmaker's still work running in the building through June as part of the Contact Photography Festival - and TIFF is supplementing that with a Marker mini-retrospective this week.
Tonight, it's Sans Soleil, which NOW's John Harkness called "the most consistently challenging and rewarding movie of the past 20 years" when Cinematheque Ontario marked its 20th anniversary in 2002. This meditation on the enduring power of the image in the form of a travelogue has only grown more compelling in the ensuing decade. It's a glorious, enthralling essay film - occasionally imitated, never matched - and if you've never seen it, well, here's your chance.
Friday offers a triad of short films: La Jetée, Marker's revolutionary 1964 sci-fi short told (almost) entirely in still images; Remembrance Of Things To Come, a typically convoluted look at the work of photographer Denise Bellon; and The Sixth Side Of The Pentagon, a documentary about a 1967 protest march on the Pentagon that's screening theatrically in Toronto for the first time.
Saturday night, TIFF screens Marker's 1977 documentary A Grin Without A Cat, a four-hour postmodern exploration of global politics after the revolution of May 1968 - a theme also explored in Olivier Assayas's Something In The Air, which opens at the Lightbox next week. And Sunday, it's a double bill of his playful 1999 profile of Andrei Tarkovsky, One Day In The Life Of Andrei Arsenevich, and The Case Of The Grinning Cat, his last film, an hour-long 2006 essay about geopolitics in the post-9/11 age.
I'm oversimplifying, of course. You'd need thousands of words to really do justice to any of Marker's work. Fortunately, his pictures are more than capable of speaking for themselves.