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La Jetee - Report

Uploaded by absynthe on Oct 03, 2004

Chris Marker’s 1962 La Jetée is one of the most influential films of its time. The 28-minute film is almost entirely compiled of black and white stills, supported by narrative throughout. Marker expresses his desire to recreate and re-write reality through exploring aspects of science fiction such as futuristic apocalyptic events and time travel; subjects that were not as widely exploited then as they are today.


Marker’s usage of stills, haunting score and sparse narration captured the imagination of storytellers in the film industry. His original and alluring story has been the inspiration of many modern cinematic pieces. Michael Sragrow is cited in Huchins review of La Jetée & Sans Soleil; “It hasn’t lost its potency, even for audiences familiar with coiling time-jump narratives or with nonfiction films made up almost entirely of stills. Marker’s images suggest unfathomable mysteries of fate and desire”.


La Jetée starts with a boy’s memory of a woman’s face and a man being shot at an airport pier at Orly, Paris. Then, there is a war; “And Sometime after came the destruction of Paris” (Marker’s script cited in La Jetée: cine-roman, 1992). ‘Peace-time’ is over, and we are now in the ‘present’ of the story in post-destruction. The few survivors of the war are forced to live in an underground ‘network of galleries’ to escape the rotting radioactive land above. The image of beauty and tragedy belongs to a prisoner of the ground, now a grown man. He is chosen as a ‘lab-rat’ for a time travel experiment to reach food and energy supplies, because of his strong mental imagery. The scientists performing the experiment believe that if he can dream of another time, he may be able to live in it without the trauma of time travel.


The story content is based on science, but it is not the most important aspect of the film. Marker does not glorify technology, nor war. The scientists are not seen as positive figures, attempting to save the people of post-world-war-three Earth from starvation. They are portrayed as mad victors, and technology as what led the world to destruction, “the technology offers a chance for humanity to survive, but technology is what has destroyed everything in the first place” (Lorefice, 2003). Marker does not preach of the ‘evil’ of nuclear weapons, but focuses on...

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Uploaded by:   absynthe

Date:   10/03/2004

Category:   Art And Music

Length:   4 pages (847 words)

Views:   2037

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