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Today's sci-fi films are always oriented around common action cliches. Chris Marker's La Jetée is totally different though. It doesn't have a single motion video content (Except for a few seconds, one of the greatest moments in cinema). The entire film's story is told through still images and a guy narrates the story. The final result was so impressive that it inspired many time-travel films including Terminator and 12 Monkeys.
The film begins in an airport in Paris. A boy witnesses the murder of a man and the reaction of a woman to the same. Soon the entire city is destroyed and thus begins World War 3. All the survivors hide underground, including the boy who survives the attack. In a few years, Man becomes capable of going back and forth in time but the technology is still infant and had already driven all the subjects to madness. The aim of this experiment was to save mankind. The next subject of this experiment is the boy himself, now a grown-up. Even now he remembers the woman's face, encapsulated in his memories. This helps him to undergo the experiment successfully. All his memoirs are reflected through the still images, both old and the ones he was going to experience through time travel. When he sent back to the past, he meets the woman and what happens next is a spellbinding experience...
Hehe, I never knew that Sci-fiction films could ever be like this one. All we have seen is exploding stuff and alien attacks, not to mention time travel by a DeLorean. Well, Kubrick's 2001 is of completely another league so comparing these two masterpieces is useless. La Jetee is only 30 minutes long. But it's something any cinephile ought not to miss. The Story is simple, yet the it has a beautiful complexity behind it that can only be felt.
La Jetee is officially #50 on BFI Sight and Sound's Poll.
This is a masterpiece in unorthodox science fiction. I was watching my Criterion Blu-ray and have to say it was one of the most stunning, vivid and lively transfers I've seen.
The technique of still images that are kinetic is astonishingly effective in HD. There are more than a few moments of real shock in only a 30 minute stretch. I know I won't be forgetting some of the things I see when I think about it.
The story itself is exciting, romantic, mystical and tragic.
Chris Marker was a real diamond, Rest In Peace my friend.
Completely mindblown. Some shots in this movie could have been framed and put in an art gallery, so stunning. The story itself is also thought-provoking, and has a nice circular pattern.
The scene with the woman lying in bed was gorgeous, as the transition of the photographic shots became more fluent, up till the moment it turns into film, for a second or so.
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In 18 official lists
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This movie ranks #1 in Brief Encounters
This movie ranks #16 in Shorts
This movie ranks #29 in The 100 Greatest Sci-Fi Movies
This movie ranks #32 in TimeOut's 100 Best French Films
This movie ranks #44 in 100 Science Fiction Films (BFI Screen Guide)
This movie ranks #47 in Cahiers du cinéma 100
This movie ranks #66 in Sight and Sound 2012 - Combined List
This movie ranks #93 in Times' 100 Best French Films
This movie ranks #109 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
This movie ranks #165 in Harvard University's Suggested Film Viewing List: Narrative Films (2012)
This movie ranks #287 in Amos Vogel's Film as a Subversive Art
This movie ranks #376 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #410 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #467 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #482 in TimeOut's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #484 in 500 Essential Cult Movies
This movie ranks #517 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Films
This movie ranks #612 in Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films