Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Film Review - La Jetée (Chris Marker, 1962)

Fig 1. La Jetee Cover.

La Jetee is a particularly unique film as it is played almost entirely as a sequence of images. This is not the only intriguing thing about it though, as it is a surprisingly short film. This however does not seem to be a downside, while its total running time sits comfortably under the 30 minute mark, the story does not seem rushed. The plot, for the most part is quite simple, despite its main premise being about time travel through thought and imagination. It would seem that half an hour is just enough time to tell this story comfortably.

Jean-Louis Schefer states in his review of the film ''The realization of the confession comes with the death of the hero himself as he relives a moment of his past, as he meets once again the girl whose image has haunted him.'' One of the most impressive plot developments in the film is at its conclusion, when the protagonist, after finally making it to the past is killed and in his final moments he realises that the event he saw as a child was his own tragic death (See Fig 2). This simple use of time-travel neatly glues the entire story together into a constant cycle. Things like this in the plot clearly show that the story was as meticulously planned and perfected as the sequence of images that dominate the film.

Fig 2. Pier Death.

Another one of the interesting points in this film is the significance of the woman whom the protagonist is obsessed with. The single use of moving image in this film is of this woman in bed moving her eyes. The film lingers in this scene of the woman in bed for a significant amount of time, this sudden change of pace could confuse the viewer somewhat and it could be said to be an unimportant and irrelevant scene. However this scene certainly has its place as it could be argued that it strengthens the viewers understanding of the relationship between the protagonist and the woman.

Overall, the film is surprisingly full and well paced considering its short running time. The story doesn't feel rushed and the characters are intriguing and mysterious throughout.

Illustration List

Marker, C (1962) Figure 1. La Jetee Cover. (Accessed on 12/01/15)

Merker, C (1962) Figure 2. Pier Death. (Accessed on 14/01/15)


Schefer, J (1990) (Accessed on 14/01/15)

1 comment:

  1. What you have written here is nice and succinct Jack :)

    It might have been good to also have had a look at the use of sound; the heartbeat, the mumbling of the scientists, the use of the voiceover etc, and how that adds to the overall effect for the viewer.
    Also, don't forget that you need to be supporting your writing with at least 3 quotes from different published sources!