One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevitch (Une journée d’Andrei Arsenevitch)Directed by Chris Marker.
France, 2000, digital video, color, 55 min.
French with English subtitles.
One Day in the Life . . . is a study of Andrei Tarkovsky, the great Russian romantic/metaphysical filmmaker, by the very different but admiring Chris Marker, an ironic, critical artist with a lively sense of humor who, of course, also has his romantic and lyrical side. The film begins with moving footage in Paris of Tarkovsky’s reunion with his son, who had been held back in the USSR for a time after the director’s exile. Marker presents clips from the films, offering shrewd commentary on Tarkovsky’s use of fire, earth, and water; on the carnality of his mysticism; on his links to Kurosawa, and much else. We also see him at work filming The Sacrifice and speaking his considered last thoughts from his deathbed.
A.K.Directed by Chris Marker.
Japan/France, 1985, digital video, color, 74 min.
Japanese and French with English subtitles.
Marker's fascination with Japan and the idea of the untranslatable finds full flower in his essay portrait of Akira Kurosawa tirelessly at work on the Mt. Fuji set of Ran (1985), his late masterful adaptation of King Lear. A double Portrait of an Artist as an Old(er) Man, A.K. offers glimpses of both Kurosawa and Marker as unflagging perfectionists, each seeking somehow to achieve the impossible – Kurosawa grappling to realize an epic and unprecedentedly expensive jidaigeki adaptation of Shakespeare, and Marker trying to capture the essence and enigma of the legendary and legendarily remote director. Maintaining a respectful distance from Kurosawa, Marker looks instead towards those smaller moments and details of the entire vast production unfurled before him – the armies of extras at repose, the drama of the mist shrouded mountain sides, the ever-watching camera-eyes – seeking different expressions of Kurosawa's obsessive artistic persona and cinema's bizarre and beautiful artifice.