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La Jetée (1962).

October 26, 2007

The Scoop:
Chris Marker’s visionary and innovative short film tells the story of a bleak future in which the survivors of the nuclear holocaust of World War III resort to time travel to try and avoid their fate.

But what sets “La Jetée” apart is not just its inventive treatment of the problems and perils of time travel. It is also the film’s technique — “La Jetée” tells its story almost entirely with still images (shot in superbly moody black and white) and voiceover narration, with only the occasional sound effects or music cues. The result is hypnotic, matching the dream-like pace of the story and its emphasis on the fleeting snapshots of memory.

Best Bit:
The one moving shot in the film. Simple, sublime and romantic.

Side Note:
The film was inspired by the scene in “Vertigo” (1958) in which James Stewart and Kim Novak count the rings of a giant sequoia tree. In turn, it would also serve as the source material for “12 Monkeys” (1995).

Companion Viewing:
“12 Monkeys” and “Alphaville” (1965).

“The Jetty.”

Take a Look:
Here it is, in its entirety:

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