Chris Marker, an enigmatic figure in French cinema who avoided publicity and was loath to screen his films yet was often ranked with countrymen Alain Resnais and Jean-Luc Godard as an avant-garde master, died at his home in Paris on Sunday, his 91st birthday.

Critic Pauline Kael called “La Jetee” “very possibly the greatest science-fiction movie yet made.” Film critic and historian David Thomson went further, declaring in a 2002 article in the British newspaper the Guardian that “La Jetee” could be “the one essential movie ever made.”

Its theme may sound familiar to contemporary audiences because it inspired a Hollywood remake, “12 Monkeys.” Directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, the 1995 film was generally viewed by critics as less essential than the original.”


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