Chris Marker, Filmmaker Behind ‘La Jetée,’ Dies at 91

The French writer and documentary filmmaker inspired Terry Gilliam's 1995 thriller "12 Monkeys"

Last Updated: July 30, 2012 @ 7:59 AM

Chris Marker, the French  filmmaker, essayist and multi-media artist has died, France's Culture Ministry said Monday. He was 91.

Marker is best known for "La jetée," a 1962 post-apocalyptic short film constructed almost entirely from still-photographs. Its shocking look at a bleak future and scenes of the misery wrought by  nuclear war won the Prix Jean Vigo for short film and inspired Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel thriller "12 Monkeys."

Pictured left, still from "La jetée."

His career was a varied one, involving not just documentaries and animated films, but also forays into film criticism, photography and digital technology. One of his last notable works, "Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men," was a 19 minute multi-media piece that was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2005 and mashed up images of wounded veterans with the filmmaker's thoughts on T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men."

Marker was associated with the Left Bank Film Movement, an experimental collection of Bohemians whose ranks included Alain Resnais, Henri Colpi, Armand Gatti and the writer Marguerite Duras.

He first came to prominence  with a documentary about the Helsinki Olympics called "Olympia 52." Other films of note include "Sans Soleil," a 1983 examination on human memory, and "A.K.," a 1985 documentary about legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.