La Jetée

Movies

I’m going to do my posts slightly out of order because I want to do my La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2 posts in consecutive weeks.

Chris Maker’s 1962 La Jetée came in between the two Fellini films. Along with Metropolis, La Jetée is only the second science fiction film so far on the BFI list of the 50 Greatest Films of All Time. Using a sequence of still photos, with one brief exception, along with voiceover narration, it’s arguably the most experimental film since The Man with a Movie Camera. At 28 minutes, it is definitely the shortest yet.

Set in the aftermath of the Third World War, an anonymous man (Davos Hanich) lives in the Paris underground and is haunted by the memory of seeing a man murdered. He is recruited for a time travel experiment in the hopes that someone can be sent to the past and/or the future to save the present. The man is obsessed by the memory of a woman (Hélène Chatelain) who he had seen right before witnessing the murder. Through the experiments, he is able to meet the woman and the mystery of the murder comes to light.

The unique technique of using still images would become tiresome in a longer movie, but at just under a half an hour, the novelty works and creates an appropriately distant and mysterious mood. La Jetée is a fascinating movie but the short length and experimental filmmaking make it difficult to feel fully engaged but it is definitely worth watching.

Elite

Excellent

Very Good

Good

Questionable