La Jetee- Directed by Chris Marker- 1968
Easily my favorite movie we have watched this semester, La Jetee is an eerie, romantic psychological, sci-fi, time traveling film set post-World War 3 in the underground of Paris. Composed mostly of still photography director Chris Marker blends and cuts frames of heavy contrast black and white film gracefully; perfectly capturing the dreary setting and dream-like tone of the story. La Jetee has a very fluid visual field despite having a still photography composition. The main character is a prisoner who is subjected to experiments due to his ability to connect to a prominent memory as a child. The experimenters know this because they have been spying on his dreams. The thought of the experimenters is perhaps the prisoner can connect to a past experience and change his actions to detour the war and change the way things are in the present time. The prisoner is subjected to sedation while being monitored connecting to moments and dreams with a significant woman, in his dream state the two share romantic moments in various places. He appears and disappears; she does not understand his relationship to her world, referring to him as her ghost. The experiments are done and the prisoner fears his own execution, he is sedated and back to his first memory as a kid where he sees himself get killed. The story has now come around 360 degrees, we are back where we started but now we have much more information.
The whole story of La Jetee is abstract but complex; the exact same thing can be said about the cinematography as well. La Jetee is as close to sci-fi noir as I’ve ever seen, it has a very artistic, psychological feel, there are no space ships or aliens but the scientific experimentation on the human psyche as a way of time travelling proves to be just as out there as any type of space flick. La Jetee is as bizarre as it is beautiful.