Born in Brooklyn, NY and residing in Paris since the early 2000s, Mark Rappaport is known as a trailblazer of the video essay form, thanks to his decades-long career creating painstakingly assembled works that interrogate the cinematic medium through his striking juxtapositions. Rappaport’s career began with the 1966 short MUR 19. After making more than a half-dozen shorts in the 60s and early 70s, he made six narrative features in the 70s and 80s—CASUAL RELATIONS, MOZART IN LOVE, LOCAL COLOR, THE SCENIC ROUTE, IMPOSTORS, and CHAIN LETTERS, a series of eccentric, surprising narrative films, stuffed with cinematic references and formal experimentation. His collaborators included many of the most creative downtown artists of the time, including Charles Ludlam, members of the Mabou Mines Theater Company, Ron Vawter of the Wooster Group, and cinematographer Fred Murphy, who shot THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL, ENEMIES: A LOVE STORY, and John Huston’s THE DEAD, as well as three of Rappaport’s features.
Rappaport’s most well-known works were created in the 1990s and feature his signature style of cinematic commentary comprised of archival film clips. These included ROCK HUDSON’S HOME MOVIES, FROM THE JOURNALS OF JEAN SEBERG, and THE SILVER SCREEN: COLOR ME LAVENDER, In later years, Rappaport refined his indelible approach to the cinematic essay, and created a series of pieces—often focusing on iconic film figures like Anita Ekberg, Marcel Dalio, Sergei Eisenstein, and Anna Karina—that explore the image of the “star” and the medium of cinema itself.