Commentaires and Commentaires 2 assemble Chris Marker’s early film commentaries in written form. Together they comprise nine commentaries from Les statues meurent aussi (1953), to Si j’avais quatre dromadaires (1966).

When the first Commentaires was published in 1961, two of Marker‘s films included in the book had been censored and were not allowed to be shown in French cinemas: Les statues meurent aussi, because of its critical stance towards the damaging cultural impact of colonialism, and Cuba Si! (1961) because of its sympathy for Castro and the revolution.

A real pleasure are the commentaries L’Amérique rêve (1959) in Commentaires and Soy Mexico (1965) in Commentaires 2, which Chris Marker called his imaginary films. Both exist only in these books and are accompanied by fantastic images.

The dynamic layout, set by Chris Marker and Juliette Caputo, treats images and text as equally important. According to Rick Poynor, Commentaires are not only of interest in terms of film history, but also deserve a place in the history of editorial design. Best known is Richard Hollis‘s design for John Berger‘s Ways of Seeing, which was inspired by Commentaires.


Richard Hollis, was strongly influenced by Chris Marker’s Commentaires, in the way how he organized the layout between image and text. Ways of Seeing breaks with the conventional traditions in book design, like the idea to begin the book directly on its cover, or Hollis radical choice tu use a bold typeface for the entire text (bold Univers 65), to match the visual weight of the illustrations.

Ways of Seeing has revolutionised the popular understanding of art and the visual image. For Berger, seeing is also a political act, especially the essay on the concept of the male gaze shows the imbalance in looking at male and female bodies. While male figures cast an aggressive and objectifying gaze, female figures refuse to make eye contact with the viewer.


Realted Chunks

Commentaires, Commentaires 2Commentaires, Commentaires 2

Commentaires, Commentaires 2

Ways of SeeingWays of Seeing

Ways of Seeing