"Contrary to what people say, using the first person in films tends to be sign of humility: 'All I have to offer is myself.'"
Chris Marker has passed away at the age of ninety-one. He was a phenomenally versatile artist - poet, novelist, critic, photographer - but it was his pioneering of the film essay that made him a legend. And while several of his features are championed as masterpieces of the form (if not utterly transformative, as in the case of the dizzyingly brilliant SANS SOLEIL), it is his 1962 short film, "La Jetee", for which he will be best remembered.
And it's not because it's the inspiration for Terry Gilliam's 12 MONKEYS. It's because "La Jetee" is the greatest short film ever made. If you've never seen it, by all means do that now. And if you've seen it before, it's like re-reading James Joyce's "The Dead": perfection never gets old.
I've only seen a few Marker films, so I'll hand you over to two thoughtful pieces by film historians who knew his work well:
And here's Jonathan Rosenbaum's terrific essay for the LA JETEE/SANS SOLEIL Criterion release (which is well worth owning).