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Filmsthemostbeautifulart's avatar


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.

10 years 5 months ago
sammysin's avatar


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.
9 years 10 months ago
Siskoid's avatar


Chris Marker's short, La Jetée, is famous for 1) being made up almost exclusively of black and white stills with narration, and 2) having formed the basis for Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys. I was surprised at how much Gilliam adapted from 28-minute story, even the look of its postapocalyptic world, but just as surprised at what he didn't, and that therefore seemed new and interesting to this old Twelve Monkeys fan. As a piece of non-formulaic SF, it certainly works, and the slides have some nice creepy effects. But it's the marriage of unusual form and unusual story that really makes La Jetée a worthy classic. Its treatment of memories as stills, forcing the audience to fill in the blanks or jump in time, Proust-like, from moment to moment, isn't unlike how memory actually works, and the film works as a philosophical meditation on the concepts of time, memory and finite-ness (by which I mean mortality, but the word doesn't evoke enough of what La Jetée gets at). Deceptively simple, there's a lot more to unpack in its poetics than you initially realize.
4 years 12 months ago
Choisai's avatar


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.
9 years 9 months ago
swhaze's avatar


The importance and significance of this piece of work isn't lost on me. With that said, I was not a big fan of the still images style. However, the story is amazing and left me thinking a lot.
6 years 1 month ago
woahitsjuanito's avatar


La Jetée was probably one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen and I think I am honestly in love with it. If that wasn’t one of the most impressive short films I’ve ever seen, I don’t know what is.
11 years 7 months ago
helloimjon's avatar


an interesting 'mock'umentary style short, but sadly not my cup of tea. i liked the still images idea, as wizardhat said, it's as if this actually happened but I found it a little hard to follow.
11 years 9 months ago
wizardhat's avatar


Cool "movie".
By doing it in a series of still images and having a narrator telling the it feels like it's documenting something that really happened. And at times I actually think there are too many stills describing a scene.
11 years 9 months ago
verovento's avatar


Still images, just half an hour but what a story... Incredible!
11 years 10 months ago
Akturk's avatar


You can make trilogy from this short movie. It is really good and unexpected.

This is a movie from 1962, don't forget it when you are watching.
1 year 11 months ago
remcult's avatar


This should really be in the Sci-Fi list
4 years 10 months ago
nyrd's avatar


I was expecting to think that this film is crap.... but it was actually very good and quite touching. Different, experimental, good.
7 years 10 months ago
codenameblue's avatar


The cinematography is amazing. Brilliant use of images and the plot was really sophisticated, for its time.
10 years 6 months ago
Mette's avatar


I am speechless, this was awesome.
11 years 2 months ago
Dieguito's avatar


Great plot and style camera shooting
11 years 2 months ago

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