PRINT January 2013

Patrick Keiller

Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme, Le Joli Mai (The Merry Month of May), 1963, 16 mm transferred to 35 mm, black-and-white, sound, 165 minutes.


CHRIS MARKER was one of a number of innovators with careers most usually dated from the 1950s who had participated in World War II (John Latham [1921–2006] and Kurt Vonnegut [1922–2007] were others); he was born in the same year as his friends Yves Montand (1921–1991) and Simone Signoret (1921–1985), who would each narrate his 1963 film Le Joli Mai, Montand in French and Signoret in English; like Alain Resnais (b. 1922) he was older than Jean-Luc Godard (b. 1930) and François Truffaut (1932–1984) and only a few years younger than Jean-Pierre Melville (1917–1973); like Melville, Marker adopted a pseudonym, was active in the French Resistance, and had an interesting relationship with American culture. For my generation in the UK, born in the 1950s and growing up in the ’60s, still in the shadow of the war, these were serious people, veterans, experienced in a way it

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