Toute la mémoire du monde, directed by Alain Resnais, 1956.
Resnais’ film about the French national library has a narrative that bears the unmistakeable imprint of “Chris and Magic Marker,” as the credits put it. Not only does it meditate on the externalization of memory through media, and trace the arrival at the library of a (fictional) entry to Marker’s (real) travel book series La Petite Planète: a guide to Mars. But the film’s final phrase -
"These readers, each working on his slice of universal memory, will have laid the fragments of a single secret end to end, perhaps a secret bearing the beautiful name of ‘happiness.’"
- concludes with a word crucial to so many of Chris Marker’s works: le bonheur.
The end of Letter from Siberia:
"I am writing you this letter from a distant land. Her charred trees and empty wastelands are as dear to me as her rivers and flowers. Her name is Siberia. She lies somewhere between the Middle Ages and the 21st century, between the earth and the moon, between humiliation and happiness. After that, it’s straight ahead.”
The beginning of Sans Soleil:
"The first image he told me about was of three children on a road in Iceland, in 1965. He said that for him it was the image of happiness and also that he had tried several times to link it to other images, but it never worked. He wrote me: one day I’ll have to put it all alone at the beginning of a film with a long piece of black leader; if they don’t see happiness in the picture, at least they’ll see the black."
It is at the core of the plot for La Jetée, the mechanism that allows the soldier to travel through time:
"Sometimes he recaptures a day of happiness, though different. A face of happiness, though different."
And it is the title of a film by Alexandre Medvedkin, subject of Marker’s tribute The Last Bolshevik:
Cчастье - le Bonheur - Happiness.
Not “joy” - “happiness.” Joy would be in the present. Happiness is from the past, and possibly the future.