BSA206: La Jetèe


Directed by Chris Marker ❖ Released 1962 ❖ “Un photo roman

La Jetèe, directed by Chris Marker, is a science fiction film about a man who is “marked by an image from his childhood.” Marker termed the film an “un photo roman”,  which translates to “a photo story“, because of the way it is comprised almost entirely of still images. [2]
The film has been of significant influence in many works over the years, such as Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (1995) which acknowledges La Jetèe in the opening credits as an influence. The themes of this film have also inspired Panda Bear’s song Last Night At The Jetty. [3]

I found the blurb and a sample chapter from a book, that has not yet been published, on La Jetèe. In the blurb it was mentioned that Chris Marker was influenced by his own writings and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) when making La Jetèe. [4]
In an article on Chris Marker which talks about the influence of Hitchcock on Marker, J. Hoberman suggests La Jetèe was “probably the first movie to be made under Vertigo’s spell. [5]

I found that I preferred to listen to the story being told in this film rather than watch the images, although I did enjoy glancing up at the screen every now and then. I admit, there were parts of the film where I started to lose interest, but as soon as the pace of the story picked up again, I was listening intently.

If I hadn’t watched until the end of La Jetèe and someone had asked what I’d thought of the film, I would have told them I found it quite boring and added something to the effect of “but I don’t like science fiction anyway.” I did watch until the end though, and I’m glad I did. It changed what opinion I would have had, because I found the ending to be very unexpected and quite moving. I thought the ending brought you back into the mind of the child, but with the understanding of the man, and I thought that made it quite powerful and very emotional.



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