La Jette

La Jetée


La Jetée, French for The Jetty, is a short film created by Chris Marker. Produced in 1962, this film is created of still black and white images with various transitions from one to the other, with a narrator for some parts. Without going into to much detail, this film is based around a world war three apocalypse present, in which a man is sent through time to see if, and how, mankind have survived the devastation.

Due to the unique nature of this films production (still images), it has caused quite a spark in the art world. This film became a huge influence of music videos and other short films. In 2010, Time ranked La Jetée first in its list of ‘Top 10 time-travel movies’. In 2012, in correspondence with the Sight & Sound Poll, the British Film Institute deemed La Jetée as the 50th greatest film of all time.

Below is the actual film, in English. Below that is a remake I found, which is an interesting colour version, with a slightly better clarity.

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After watching this film, I can understand why this technique of film making is very intriguing. The quality of the video is not great, but the story has a good plot, and the images have a very eerie and unnerving appeal. The thought and consideration to be able to capture the images, in order, to create a movie, was great. It had a well paced flow, and some of the fading transitions made it feel as though the actors were moving sometimes. I think what made this movie work is because of the still image technique. No doubt a motion picture would probably be great, but because the artist/director chose this form of image making, it is what it is because of that decision.

“One of the best of all SF films is this haunting, apocalyptic 27-minute French short by the great Chris Marker.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

“I find it tediously pretentious, but there are striking images in it, and it does get across a vague impression of Frankensteinian meddling with the brain.” – Bosley Crowther, New York Times


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