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La Jetée

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La Jetée

Time travel, still images, a past, present and future and the aftermath of World War III. The tale of a man, a slave, sent back and forth, in and out of time, to find a solution to the world’s fate. To replenish its decreasing stocks of food, medicine and energies, and in doing so, resulting in a perpetual memory of a lone female, life, death and past events that are recreated on an airport’s viewing pier.

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Release : 1962
Rating : 8.3
Studio :
Crew : Director of Photography,  Director of Photography, 
Cast : Jean Négroni Jacques Ledoux Ligia Branice William Klein
Genre : Science Fiction Romance

Cast List

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Reviews

Galina
2015/11/03

Images---La jetée (1961) aka The Pier is one of the best, poignant, and most unusual films ever made. The 28 minutes long collection of unbelievably rich, mesmerizing, still black and white images accompanied with the mourning score and sparse narration look inside your very soul while you look at them and they talk to you and reach to all your senses. This is correct - the film used a photo-montage technique but once stated watching, I was so enthralled that I did not think about technical part. The film is simple, poetic, philosophical, and profound. It is an anti war/post-apocalyptic science fiction documentary style and at the same time the ode to love, longing, and to power of memory.Here is the paradox - how can documentary, made of the still black and white images tell the story that would influence every following film about time travel and be the true feast for mind and soul? Well, it has happened in La jetée, and while watching you forget what genre the movie belongs to because it defies the definitions of genres, and you just don't want it to end even though you know from the beginning that this movie will never have a happy ending. Like millions of fascinated viewers I ask myself how that much was achieved with so little. Like an unnamed protagonist of La jetée is marked for life with an unforgettable image from his childhood, the viewer is marked with the still images of the film, especially by only one animated image of awakening in the film that comes like a miracle.I finished earlier this evening re-watching Terry Gilliam's excellent film Twelve Monkeys (1995) for which La jetée was the inspiration. Now when I saw both, I am sure that if it were not for the unspeakably sad, beautiful and moving short film of Chris Marker that suggests that "calling past and future may save the present" and provides the extraordinary emotional impact with the story of return to the most vivid childhood memories again and again, there would be no brilliant and dark visions of Twelve Monkeys. Both films are glorious in their unique way and should be viewed together to be appreciated fully.

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Anthony Iessi
2015/09/10

Back to the Past---"La Jette" is a strange short film, that many are familiar to the fact that it inspired the Terry Gilliam film "12 Monkeys". It centers on the hypothetical aftermath of World War III. It is assumed that the world had been scorched by nuclear weaponry, as we see a young man strapped down and blindfolded by a group of ominous scientists in an underground refuge. What the man is being subjected to is a time machine that sends him back to the time, and his mission is to collect goods, and send them back to the present day in order to feed the survivors of the war. He is sent back to the near moment when his life ended, and all he remembers seeing is a strikingly beautiful young woman, standing over a pier while an unknown man falls to his death. Instead of following orders, the man stalks the female throughout the city of Paris, in order to figure out why he remembers her, and what significance she has to him before the bomb hit. What happens is quite lovely actually. You see, the man begins to talk to the young woman, and they begin a pleasant Parisian love affair. Needless to say, this makes the underground scientists none too pleased. For several times over, the scientists keep sending the man back to the beginning of the time warp in order to complete the mission, only for the man to keep pursuing the young lady every time. The two inter-dimensional lovebirds even manage to squeeze in a museum visit, where they gaze at the wonders of the animal kingdom. Hey, even in a time warp, you have to stop and smell the roses. After many attempts, the scientists play a trick and send the young man to a strange, scary future that warns him of the consequences of a malnourished society. The people where black clothing, and stare deeply into his eyes. Do you think that would scare him into doing the right thing? Of course not! He's got to get the girl. Angry about his failure, the scientists bring him back to the past, to meet the girl, only to have him assassinated by another time traveler. In the end, he suffered the exact same fate as the man he saw before the war. He was the fallen man from his own past. All this is shown in glorious frames per second? no not 24, just frames. Like a slideshow gone horribly wrong, the story progresses through images, which coincide with the fact that Marker himself is an acclaimed photographer. Does it even matter in the end? Not for me. I was deeply invested in every moment of this great short film. As a matter of fact, in the genre of Science Fiction, I don't think I've ever seen a finer film. Marker masterfully places fear in the hearts of his viewers. Whatever future we have to look forward to, it looks awfully bleak for Marker. There is nothing to look forward to, but the imminent arrival of a nuclear holocaust. As with many films in tune with "Nouvelle Vague", the politics are visibly liberal. "La Jette" is an early anti-war picture. In the wake of WWII, and the arms race happening in Europe, Marker constructed a film that allowed us to think about the social and physical implications of nuclear war. In the process, he allows an intimate look at the past, and how our main character, keeps trying to hang onto it as long as he can, for tomorrow is hopeless. The woman he seeks is in itself, a metaphor for peace and good memories. Good memories are precious, and beautiful, and visceral. When you think about good memories, you want to plant yourself back in time and relive them. We sympathize with our main character, and we feel for him when he dies in the end. I believe the moral of it all is to remember what thrived before, and try to prevent what this film tried to envision for our future, which consists of nothing.

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Horst in Translation (filmreviews@web.de)
2015/05/13

The evidence why there are no more photo novels for the screen---It simply is not working as this is, by definition, not a "motion picture". "La jetée" or "The Pier" is a black-and-white film that runs for slightly under 30 minutes and is over 50 years old now. The writer and director is Chris Marker. Do not be confused by his name for he is as French as this half hour in terms of narration and style. There are references about human experiments, time travel, ruins and the usual components like love, war and death. The way this is made, namely a collection of photos, is probably the main reason why I was not impressed at all. The love story did not touch me and I was not sad when I found out that he is not gonna see her again as his next travels will be to the future. His death at the end felt really rushed as well. i was fairly disappointed with it. The format has proved unappealing enough and that is why directors these days just do normal movies and not photo book stuff like this. Not recommended unless you became curious about it after watching "12 Monkeys".

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Charles Herold (cherold)
2015/03/03

like watching paint dry---This is one of these movies you wind up watching in film classes, and it's considered a great classic. Unfortunately, it's pretty tedious. It is essentially an illustrated sci-fi short story made up (almost) entirely of still images. This is an admittedly original approach to movie making, but not an especially engaging process.While leisurely told, the real issue for me with the film is it's not a very good sci-fi story. I was immersed from childhood in science-fiction (my dad taught a college literature course devoted to it) and the story struck me as trite and predictable. Admittedly, I saw it 20 years after it came out (in the 1970s), so the story might have seemed more original at the time, but all-in-all this is sub-par Twilight Zone fare given artistic appeal through it's presentation.There is one stunning moment in the movie, and it's such an interesting moment (you'll know it when you see it), and one that is only possible if the film is made just as it is, then arguably it's a good thing for a film student to see. But it's very dull.

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Dalbert Pringle
2014/08/17

Duh!---Directed by French film-maker, Chris Marker, La Jetee is a horribly dry and uninspired Sci-Fi story which takes place at the onset of WW3.There are no spectacular images in this film. There is no dialogue, either.La Jetee's story is told through tedious narration.There is no live action. It is all just b&w stills whose images are recycled more than once.Thank goodness La Jetee was only 27 minutes long (it seemed to drag on for hours).And thank goodness this sort of idiot concept of film-making didn't catch on.La Jetee's story is neither deep nor philosophical. Although I strongly suspect that director Marker believed himself to be creating a real masterpiece of cinematic intellectualism.For me, the only way to watch this dismally dreary picture was in fast-forward mode.

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