Did Chris Marker think history is a sacred book?

Schwabsky_favouritehallucinations_ba_img_0Barry Schwabsky at The Nation:

Did Marker also think history to be not only an infinite book but a sacred one? Whatever his early religious yearnings, they seem to have been forgotten or disregarded, at least by his critics, who pass over his early associations with a Catholic magazine and a Catholic publishing house, not to mention his having translated an American author best known for his acuity in writing about the lives of priests. And as late as 2003, in an interview with Libération, Marker spoke of how he’d been moved by a Japanese critic remarking that in both La jetéeand Sans soleil, his goal had been to “overcome death by prayer.” Marker seems never to have relinquished the hope that the ontological character of the image might hold some salvific potential; however irrational this hope might seem, it probably accounts for the poignant intensity of the gaze that makes his films and photographs unforgettable.

Unforgettable above all is the gallery of faces that Marker has left us—especially the female faces. It is impossible not to notice how his camera lingers more searchingly, even almost desperately, on the faces of women. In the Petite Planète series he edited in the 1950s, a woman’s face appears on the cover of each book, as if this is the key to his attachment to the world. He speaks of women as one of “my favorite hallucinations,” and it is impossible not to wonder if, in his Catholic days, he was particularly devoted to Mary.

more here.