Commentaires, Commentaires 2

by Chris Marker


Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1961. First edition. 8vo (20,5x14cm), printed card wrappers. 187pp. Text in French. Mild edge wear with light spots of soiling to wrappers, slightly bumped at spine-head. Three pages punctured with 5 tiny, needle-sized holes, not affecting text and easy to miss, else contents clean and unmarked, overall very good and better.
Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1967. First edition. 8vo (20,5x14cm), printed card wrappers. 176pp. Text in French. Mild toning with slight rubbing to edges. Contents clean and unmarked, else fine.

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.

Scarce, especially in this condition, and an incredible important document of Chris Marker’s work.