La Jetée (1962) by Chris Marker La Jetée is a 1962 French science fiction film by Chris Marker.

The whole film is around 30 minutes and is constructed almost entirely out of black and white photographs. La Jetée won the Prix Jean Vigo, which is an annual award and is usually given to a director for his/her independent spirit. The 1995 science fiction film 12 monkeys was inspired by La Jetée and takes several concepts from it. “Viewers emerge from Chris Marker's La Jetée (1962), a film made almost entirely of still photographs, marked for ever by its imagery yet somehow unsure exactly what they have seen. It is a film that mines deep seams of memory, but whose surface, though hardly forgettable, remains enigmatic in retrospect. After almost half a century, it is still hard to say what Marker achieved in his masterpiece.” (Dillon, 2009) The story starts with a young boy at a pier who sees a woman and witnesses a man dying. He is haunted by this memory and it is his obsession with this past memory that makes him a prime candidate to be a part of a time travelling experiment. He is sent back and forth in hopes of finding a solution to the world’s fate. He meets the women eventually and falls in love, but then is sent to the future and returns with a solution to the world’s fate. He then discovers his jailers are to kill him and those in the future say they will help him come to their time but he asks to go back to the pier where he saw the women as a child. When he gets there he runs towards her and sees one of his old captors, and realises the man he saw dying as a child and the memory that haunted him was his own death. La Jetée does such a very successful exploration of time travel and the whole enigma that is time travel. His whole life is shaped by this one event that eventually leads him to his death. He believes he is escaping death and returning to the women he loves but in reality he is just causing the very event in his child hood which haunted him his whole life. The film could be interpreted to explore the idea that the man never leaves his body and instead goes deep into his Fig. 2 La Jetée (1962) mind where he explores his childhood memories so vividly that the impression of time travel is given. “My interpretation for La jetée is that the man is not actually time-traveling. Instead, the injection (and whatever other treatment) he is given sends him deep into his mind and his memory, allowing him Fig. 1 Theatrical release poster (1962)

to mentally re-visit the world he grew up in vividly enough to deliver to the scientists the information they need from the past. Similarly, the injection enables the man to anticipate the future and again get the information the scientists need.” (Finneran, 2012) The fact that the whole film is made entirely of still photographs except for a brief minute when you see the women’s eyes flutter open, this choice to use stills rather than a movie image does not in any way detract from the movie but makes it better, more powerful somehow. That a few images can convey a story so much better, this shows you how much meaning can be attached to a single image and shows that it’s not necessary to have a moving image to tell Fig. 3 La Jetée (1962) a story. “It manages to tell a gripping, haunting story and create an ominous and powerful atmosphere simply through the masterly manipulation of frozen images and a subtle soundtrack made up of heartbeats, whispers, jet engines and other sound effects, as well as Trevor Duncan's eerie music score.” (Film4, 2007) In conclusion La Jetée is a very moving film that encompasses romance, time travel, memory, life and death. It’s captivating to the point that you forget that you are watching a series of images rather than a moving film, and the whole story is just a short 30 minutes long.

List of Illustrations Figure 1. Theatrical release poster (1962) [Poster] At: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_jet%C3%A9e Figure 2. La Jetée (1962) From: La Jetée Directed by: Chris Marker [Film still] At: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReviews21/La_Jetee_Sans_Soleil_DVD_review.htm Figure 3. La Jetée (1962) From: La Jetée Directed by: Chris Marker [Film still] At: http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&biw=1920&bih=1019&tbm=isch&tbnid=toC cblV5bzwRqM:&imgrefurl=http://projects.vanartgallery.bc.ca/publications/Walking_and_Falling/%3 Fp%3D116&docid=9wZSgQt8FSC62M&imgurl=http://projects.vanartgallery.bc.ca/publications/Walki ng_and_Falling/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/La-Jetee11.jpg&w=2024&h=1312&ei=A0f1UM7HC4XZ0QWpj4CgBw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=511&vpy=181& dur=2454&hovh=181&hovw=279&tx=156&ty=108&sig=113391261610782154807&page=1&tbnh=1 38&tbnw=206&start=0&ndsp=38&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0,i:105 Bibliography Dillan, Brian (2009) Fade away At: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/mar/28/chris-marker-lajetee-film Finneran, Shane (2012) “La jetée” does the time-traveler's body stay in the present time? At: http://movies.stackexchange.com/questions/4459/in-la-jetee-does-the-time-travelers-body-stay-inthe-present-time Fikm4 (2007) La jetée; Review At: http://movies.tvguide.com/la-jetee/review/132177

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