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Summary: Earth lies in ruin after a nuclear war. The few surviving humans begin researching time travel, hoping to send someone back to the pre-war world for food, supplies and maybe a solution to their dire position. One man is haunted by a vague childhood memory that will prove fateful. (imdb)
La Jetée was released in 1962 (four years after Vertigo, which inspired Marker greatly). It consists almost entirely of still photos, telling a story of the world after nuclear war. The absence of movement means you can%u2019t look away for a second. Although there is spoken narration, the photos are the key, and each one feels crucial, so you stare at the screen, absorbing every still. La Jetée is not a movie you can half-watch while doing something else.
It's best sometimes not to read too much about a film, before exploring it; La Jetée caught me completely off guard, in good way of course. A story about time travel, society's survival and ultimately human experience, truly spellbinding.
The film is entirely still images with a narration, but those images are so effective that it still feels as if you're seeing the action, kind of like when reading a good book you form pictures of what you're reading. Marker gives you some amazing images and an interesting narration while your mind completes the picture for you, it was incredibly effective. The story itself was also quite creative and even though I should have seen it coming, the ending was very good and caught me by surprise.
I was tired when I started watching this, and fell right asleep 10 minutes after the end. I'm not saying the film is boring, it just has its own slow charm. At first, I didn't see where this was going, being that the film is basically a narrator and still images, but eventually the whole ambiance works. This wouldn't have been nearly as interesting nor would it have conveyed any sort of message if done in the 'standard' character storytelling mode and moving pictures.
I re-watched this short film after 5 years. It didn't affect me as much as the first time, but it struck me how well sound and music are used. It's really unfair to compare it to "12 monkeys" (or other way around). It's experimental cinema, very different from traditional 25 frames-per-second narratives, but even more effective and captivating.
the story leaves much to be asked, with nearly cryptic narration it is set up to fail with no cohesive visuals. i have to say though if you were going to pull off a movie with only still images you're going to have to excel in every other way, which this does not.
Probably my favorite short ever, and not just because it was what 12 Monkeys was based on. The style is very unique as it's just photos with music and a voice-over instead of the normal moving cinema. Hearing that you'd think it might detach the viewer, but it's actually incredibly compelling.