‘Thought-Images’ and Critical-Lyricisms: The Denkbild and Chris Marker’s Le Tombeau d’Alexandre

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David Foster

Abstract

Abstract (E): This article considers the intersections and interactions of the poetic and essayistic in
Chris Marker’s Le Tombeau d’Alexandre. It compares Marker’s film on Alexandre Medvedine to the
Denkbild, or “thought-image,” a prose-poetry genre described by Gerhard Richter and practiced by
Walter Benjamin. This comparison reveals both the resonances and contradictions that occur between
the personal and the critical within Marker’s poetic essay-films. In doing so, this article suggests that
one must regard Marker’s work as possessing a critical-lyricism that seeks to negotiate the difficulties
of achieving the correct distance and perspective in the personally invested act of criticism.
Abstract (F): Cet article explore les interactions entre les qualités poétiques et essayistiques dans Le
Tombeau d’Alexandre de Chris Marker. Il compare le film de Marker au Denkbild ou « imagepensée
», un genre poétique décrit par Gerhard Richter et que l'on retrouve chez Walter Benjamin.
Cette comparaison révèle les ressemblances et les contradictions entre la vue personnelle ou subjective
et la vue critique et objective dans les films d'essai poétiques de Marker. Cet article amène à suggérer
qu'il convient de considérer l'oeuvre de Marker comme étant habité par un lyrisme critique qui cherche
à atténuer les difficultés dans l'atteinte des bonnes distance et perspective dans l'acte de la critique
personnelle.

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Author Biography

David Foster, University of Manitoba

David Foster recently completed his PhD in the Department of English and Film Studies at the
University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He currently teaches at the University of Manitoba. His
research focuses on the relationship between poetry and film, especially in the work of Chris Marker.