Wednesday, 8 January 2014

La Jetée Review

La Jetée is a 28 minute long French featurette made in 1962 by Chris Marker. The film is compromised entirely from photo stills and only has one clip of motion picture. The film fits into the sci-fi genre although with a more unconventional focus on human emotion with the science fiction element existing to make sense of the remembrance of memories. Critic Jean-Louis Schefer said on the subject These intimate recollections, essentially tied to the return of the figure of a childhood love, can only be organized in a science-fictional scenario” (Schefer, 1990)

  The use of photographs as opposed to motion picture gives a more intimate feel, like you are looking at something secret you shouldn’t be. Especially in the scenes at the underground laboratory- the haunting images of the prisoners wearing masks, it is as if you are looking at old police photos from a crime scene (fig 1). The frozen images also give an impression of the world being frozen- that the film is taking part in a limbo. Time is not progressing- The godlike narrator is merely giving us an insight. Schefer notes “ By whom is this adventure told? A witness, the depersonalized essence of the hero? An experimenter? Or someone who has absolute knowledge of time, death, and the paradoxes of memory? The narrator or commentator (whoever is describing the whole experiment and its length, and who possesses knowledge of the hero’s soul–of the subject of the experiment)” (Schefer, 1990)

A Prisoner being experimented on
  The music, which sets the mood for the film, a godlike orchestra, also fits the idea of the narrator being an almighty observer of this remarkable story. The music, from this perspective has been described as “Eerie, romantic, and obsessive in its repetitions, it always sounds in La Jetée as if heard from afar, from a distant past” (Romney, 2007) The description of “eerie, romantic and obsessive” describes both the music and the storyline of the man with his lover from the past perfectly. Other sound effects include eerie German whispers, the quality of the recording adding to the home-made intimacy the film creates.

  The only moment of film, is a clip of the protagonist's love interest awakening. Predicated by a quick movement of photos- the moment builds up to an intimate climax, a memorable part of the film as well as a memorable part of our protagonist's journey. (fig 2)

Woman about to awaken

Schefer J, (1990), On La Jetée  at:

Romney J, (2007), La Jetée: Unchained Melody at:

Image List
(fig 1) Still from La Jetée (1962) at:

(fig 2) Still from La Jetée (1962) at:


  1. Hey Livi - just browsing, good content, time to get picky:

    Re. presentation, leave a line's width between each new paragraph - makes for a more effortless reading experience.

    You've got *apposed* when you mean *opposed* - and you need to get your apostrophes sorted:

    *Protagonists love interest* should read 'Protagonist's love interest' - with the apostrophe signalling the possessive - i.e. the love interest associates with the protagonist.

    *Photo's* should read 'photos' - meaning more than one photo, otherwise that possessive apostrophe is suggesting the photo's belong to something/someone.

    Little things, important things!

    1. Oooh yes- should have proof read!

    2. that's better! :) ALWAYS check what you publish now, Livi - no sloppy 'that'll do' publishing - this is your business card and first impression and shopwindow in one!

    3. *the photo's belong to something/someone* - argh! Ironic laughter - that should have read 'the photos belong to something/someone' - oh, the shame!

  2. Hi Livi! Aaahhh...Phil beat me to it!
    Ok, I am going to be picky too - make sure that you italicise the film name, but don't italicise the author's name and date in the reference after the quote.
    Make sure that your bibliography is organised alphabetically by the author's surname.

    Apart from that - good stuff!