Fig. 1. La Jetée poster.
Chris Marker’s La Jetée (1962) is a film that is almost completely created by still images; it is very much a moving storyboard which is narrated over. It’s a science fiction story in which the main aim is to send a man to the future to save the world. The man Is chosen to participate in this experiment because he has a strong connection to an image of his past, in which he sees a woman’s face at the end of a pier.
Fig. 2. Woman still.
As the film progresses the man is sent back to the past, to test if he can survive the time travel. While in the past he finds the woman of his memories and begins to connect with her. The film is very much about the emotional connection between these two people, as Merlin points out in his review ‘Instead, it’s a stirring, emotional film about the unique hold memories have over people’s lives and how experiences themselves are fleeting.’ (Merlin, 2012). Merlin suggests that the films message is how memories leave long lasting effects over people when what actually happened doesn’t last that long, this is reflected in the man’s memory of the woman at the end of the pier. He remembers her face and the events that he witnessed, this stays with him and because of this they are able to transport him back to the past and to the future.
Fig. 3. Time travel still
The film is mostly composed of still images, however there is a scene in which the man’s lover opens her eye and that was filmed. It is possible that this was done to impact the audience; you can really feel that there is a strong emotional connection between the man and the woman, the moving image supports that. As Andrew mentions in his review ‘The soundtrack's texture is similarly sparse, and the fluid montage leads the viewer into the sensation of watching moving images. Until, that is, an extraordinary epiphany when an image genuinely does move: the man's sleeping lover opens her eyes.’ (Andrew, 2006). As Andrew points out the films still images give the viewer a sensation of watching a moving image when paired with the soundtrack and narration, but when Marker used an actual moving image it was very striking.
La Jetée is very much a film that prides itself on its ability to tell a story with still images, it is a film that orbits around the love the man has for the woman. It is in essence a moving storyboard, which successfully delivers a story to its audience. It is a delightful take on science fiction and a good watch for anyone who wants to enjoy a story told in a pure and basic method.
Marker, C. (1962). Figure 1. La Jetée poster. http://www.amoeba.com/admin/uploads/blog/Charles/la-jetee-poster.jpg (Accessed on 11/01/2015)
Marker, C. (1962). Figure 2. Woman still. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-0uuLusSLt_4/Ui8v068wJXI/AAAAAAAABQE/fVxxTZAhtWY/s1600/2v9stap.png (Accessed on 11/01/2015)
Marker, C. (1962). Figure 3. Time travel still. http://i.stack.imgur.com/kMzhD.jpg (Accessed on 11/01/2015)
Andrew, G. (2006). timeout.com. http://www.timeout.com/london/film/la-jetee (Accessed on 11/01/2015)
Merlin, E. (2012). scene-stealers.com. http://www.scene-stealers.com/columns/overlooked-movie-monday/la-jetee-sans-soliel-blu-ray-review/ (Accessed on 11/01/2015)