Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Film Review - La Jetée (1962)

Fig. 1 La Jetée (1962) Movie Poster

Chris Marker's La Jetée (1962) is a slideshow of still images that are put along side a story of a prisoner who travels through time, as the aftermath of World War III in Paris becomes so severe he needs to find answers as to how to prevent the tragic events that have destroyed the World, and so what at first may seem like a tale of romance, we soon learn at the horrors that the world may face. Eric Melin summaries the film in his review as "A stirring, emotional film about the unique hold memories have over people's lives and how experiences themselves are fleeting." - (Melin, 2012)

Fig. 2 Travelling through time Experiment

The film uses these black and white images accordingly so that they match the dark story that it is telling. The revolutionary ideas that the film poses is what makes the film memorable. Although, it maybe considered predictable to modern audiences, it still manages to be a tense experience. There is, however, one small scene where the Woman, shown in Fig. 3, is asleep, but then her eyes open. This moving image really stands out, so much so it may be considered out of place. It could be argued that this scene demonstrates how the experiments are working, and are affecting the present and future. Timeout London call this short scene "an extraordinary epiphany when an image genuinely does move: the man's sleeping lover opens her eyes." - (Timeout London, 2006)

Fig. 3 The Woman

The setting of Paris is now well known for it's Romance and beauty. This therefore highlights the developing relationship between the Prisoner and the Woman, as we see that the Woman is the primary reason for why he wants to continue visiting the past. However, the dark, post apocalyptic images demonstrate that tragedy will ensue and this relationship will face some challenges.

Fig. 4 Prisoner to the Woman

The ending brings back the film's darkness. After several scenes of the Prisoner and the Woman exploring Paris, going into Museums, sitting in a park and being happy together, the ending reminds us of how complex the experiments were and how it is not wise to mess with time travel. The final scenes reminds us of the horrors of war and what lengths we would go to, to fix the world's problems.

Illustration List:
Fig. 1 La Jetée (1962) Movie Poster - (Accessed 04/02/2015)

Fig. 2 Travelling through time Experiment (Accessed 04/02/2015)

Fig. 3 The Woman -  (Accessed 04/02/2015)

Fig. 4 Prisoner to the Woman  (Accessed 04/02/2015)

Melin, Eric (2012) - The Criterion Collection – La Jetée | Sans Soleil Blu-ray (2012) Review (Accessed 04/02/2015)

Timeout London (2006) - La Jetée - (Accessed 04/02/2015)

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