La Jetée 1962


La Jetée starring Étienne Becker, Jean Négroni and Hélène Chatelain directed by Chris Marker (1962) is a daring movie which does not use any videoed footage except in one scene for a very short period of time, the effect of which actually startles the viewer reminding them that they are/were watching a series of well placed photographs.

"The photographed black and white stills have a uniformly grainy look to them, suggesting memory is a hazy and unreliable stand-in for reality while evoking the photography that documented France’s razing during World War II. The images of destruction are recycled ones, pretending to show us a future yet to come, but in reality showing the past’s ruin, making their use thematically relevant. Though the images remain still, the camera does not. One gets the impression that his omnipotent camera is scanning these slices of time, trying to animate them, much like the protagonist attempts to revitalize his memories." (Heilman.2002)


Certain shots resembled that of a dynamic storyboard, the introduction for example had the noise of an airplane and the scene zoomed in making it really feel that the plane was landing, however because there was no video footage prior and it was just planned photograph after photograph the movie appeared to be an idea for how the movie would be shot, as if this shouldn't of been the end product.

"La Jetée uses a novel presentation to emphasize the snapshot nature of memory. But his images are extraordinarily beautiful and put together with great style, suggesting movement and emotion by allowing us to linger on them and fill them with our own experiences of nostalgia and déjà vu". (Ferdinand.2008)


"By altering the time for which each shot is held (at times a quick succession of similar images approximates to film) a tight grasp of pace and a certain level of suspense is achieved. Interestingly, perhaps the most significant result of La Jetee is that the basic structures utilised in cinema are stripped bare and revealed unadorned." (Cannon.1997)

Illustration List:

-1.Heilman,2002. on 5.2.11)
-2.Marilyn Ferdinand.2008. on 5.2.11)
-3.Damian Cannon.1997. (accessed on 5.2.11)

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Important Criticism