Thursday, August 30, 2012

Belated R.I.P. Department

Two directors I admire passed away recently: Chris Marker and Tony Scott. On the surface and maybe deeper, these two filmmakers represented opposing factions. Mentioning Marker -- elder statesman of what lazy media types like to call "the European art film" -- and Scott -- creator of loud, garish, macho Hollywood blockbusters -- as creative peers may come across as misguided and silly at first glance. Marker made uncategorizable essay films that drew on photography, literature, politics, and philosophy from an international perspective. Scott (mostly) made Hollywood spectacles full of American stars, quick cutting, nonstop action, guns, cars, trains, fighter jets, nuclear submarines, one-liners, fistfights, and explosions. Marker made Sans Soleil. Scott made Top fuckin' Gun. Marker died from natural causes at the age of 91. Scott jumped off a Los Angeles bridge.
And yet. Both men, however different their cinemas were from each other, innately understood that film was about images, sound, and movement and the correlations between them.  Both enjoyed collaborating with other writers and filmmakers. Both made many films as expatriates. (Scott was British and moved to the States in the 1980s.) They started in different mediums (journalism and photography for Marker, painting for Scott) and made their first films in their thirties. Both men were intensely private, and their films feel both personal and elusive. A goofy sense of humor and pop art and comic book influences are shared between them.
I know I'm finding these connections because of the timing of their deaths and stretching a thin comparison. However, they're both dead and the medium is a little weaker because of it.

Images from Marker's La Jetee and Sans Soleil and Scott's True Romance and Crimson Tide

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