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La Jetée / Sans Soleil (The Criterion Collection) (1963)

Étienne Becker , Jean Négroni , Chris Marker  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Étienne Becker, Jean Négroni, Hélène Chatelain, Davos Hanich, Jacques Ledoux
  • Directors: Chris Marker
  • Writers: Chris Marker
  • Producers: Anatole Dauman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: June 26, 2007
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,048 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "La Jetée / Sans Soleil (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfers, approved by director Chris Marker
  • New video interview with filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin
  • "Chris on Chris," a video piece on Marker by filmmaker and critic Chris Darke
  • Both films presented in two versions: English and French with English subtitles
  • New and improved English subtitle translations

Editorial Reviews

One of the most influential, radical science-fiction films ever made and a mind-bending free-form travelogue, La jetée (The Jetty) and Sans soleil (Sunless) couldn’t seem more different—yet they’re the twin pillars of one of the most daring and uncompromising careers in cinema history. Chris Marker, filmmaker, poet, novelist, photographer, editor, and now videographer and digital multimedia artist, has been challenging moviegoers, philosophers, and himself for years with his complex queries about time, memory, and the rapid advancement of life on this planet. These two films—a tale of time travel told in still images and a journey to Africa and Japan—remain his best-loved and most widely seen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
I am very happy that Chris Marker's La Jette (and Sans Soleil) are on DVD. La Jetee is a wonderful, incredibly haunting film. It can easily be classified as one of the greatest science fiction films ever made in my opinion. It only runs 28 minutes, and is composed of nothing but still images and narration (except for one shot), yet the universe is contained within it. It's that rare cerebral science fiction that hardly gets made these days, along the lines of 2001, Blade Runner, and Solaris (Tarkovsky's version). It was the inspiration for Twelve Monkeys, and while Monkeys is a great film in itself, La Jetee is much more haunting and moving. It's wonderful to be able to see La Jetee in a proper transfer.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
La Jetee (1962) is one of the seminal works of the French New Wave as well as one of the all-time great science fiction films. It deserves all the respect it receives but what is really so amazing is how much is achieved with so little. Made entirely of still black and white images--of WWII cities in ruin, of an airport observation deck in the fifties, of generic shots of a woman one could find in any magazine, of a group of men in one of the many tunnels beneath Paris--and a mundane but strangely compelling voice-over, Le Jetee is not so much a film as a series of random images linked only by the narrative spell of a single voice.

We view only one still photo at a time and we assign meaning only because the narrator tells us the significance of each. It doesn't sound like much to describe it so and yet because the technology is so primtive we are somehow less distracted than we would be were this a full-fledged cinematic production with action sequences and a pulsing soundtrack. This is basically a slide-show and that is the key to this films appeal. This film essay works because it asks for a different kind of attention than we are used to giving films. La Jetee asks for a much more personal kind of attention, the kind of attention we give to our own photo albums, slide shows and dreams. But, also, since many of the images look like they could have come from LIFE or National Geographic there is also a kind of generic quality to the slide show and we are lulled into a kind of attentive trance as we get the feeling that Marker is making a connection between our own personal memories/dreams/markers and the generic memories/dreams/markers of the culture at large.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning May 25, 2007
Sans Soleil has long been one of my favourite films. Superlatives barely begin to scratch the surface, but it is surreal, haunting, poignant, ethereal and unlike any other 'documentary' you have seen or are ever likely too. The film is ultimately about the heartbreaking beauty of the time and place in which we (do or do not) exist. Featuring Marker's central preoccupations of time, space and memory, Sans Soleil needs to be seen to be believed.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two classics by Chris Marker July 19, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the films

La Jetee is about a post World War III Paris where the survivors live underground. One survivor, haunted by dreams about an event in his childhood of a man being gunned down is asked to volunteer to go back in time to bring supplies back to them.

The film is a series of still photographs with narration by an unseen reader.

This film later became the main inspiration for the film Twelve Monkeys.

Sans Soleil is a documentary about life in Japan. The film is in an avant garde style and has elements of the Qatsi trilogy and other films.

Both films are excellent and very nice in this version.

Both films have an optional English dubbed track and two versions of subtitles.

One flaw is they can be out of sync when switched they also have different content. Use the regular subtitles for the French dub and the SDH (Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing) for the English dub. The SDH subtitles follow the English dub verbatim but are not as precise as the other subtitles.

The special features are an interview with Jean-Pierre Gorin, and excerpts from the French TV program Court-circuit, and exerpts from David Bowie's music video "Jump They Say" which contains a scene inspired by La Jetee.

This is a must buy!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Way overdue May 8, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Simply stated, this disc features two of the greatest films of the 20th Century. La Jetee is often called a "science fiction" film while Sans Soleil is labeled as a "documentary", however both films defy these simple descriptions. While very different in form, both La Jetee and Sans Soleil will challenge your ideas of memory and time and spacial relationships. These films are absolutely critical viewing for discerning film fans. Kudos to Criterion for finally bringing these films to the U.S. I only wish that other films such as "La Mystere Koumiko" by Marker will follow.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars La Jetee: genius. September 17, 2007
La Jetee (Chris Marker, 1962)

I'm not terribly sure what I can say about Chris Marker's La Jetee that hasn't been said by just about everyone else, so I'll keep this short. You probably already know this, but if you don't, it was the inspiration for David and Janet Peoples' screenplay for the Terry Gilliam film 12 Monkeys, rightly considered by the various-and-sundry on the IMDB message boards to be one of the top 250 movies of all time. (Interestingly, La Jetee has a slightly higher numerical rating; it lacks enough votes to secure a top-250 placing.) But where Gilliam molded the storyline into his most accessible (and commercially successful) film, Marker seemed to have no interest at all in making something accessible, or even likable; it's hard, in fact, to even call La Jetee a film, in the sense we know the word. That, of course, makes it all the more enchanting.

The story (if you haven't seen 12 Monkeys, a quick synopsis: a guy is sent through time in order to try and prevent the war that effectively ended civilization on Earth) is told, with one stunning exception, in a series of still images, over which there is narration. A story is being told, with accompanying pictures. The film, which clocks in at only twenty-eight minutes, barely draws the outline of this story, leaving the viewer to fill in as many of the blanks as he or she wishes. It's a bold move, and when it doesn't work, it's awful. Here, it works on every level it can.

If it were just that, it would be a good movie. Interesting. A nice idea with a cool experimental sheen to it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars and if you're reading this you already know its a great film....
Got it in a very timely manner, and if you're reading this you already know its a great film. Criterion's extras are good as always.
Published 2 days ago by Dustin Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars It's still great on its own
Bought it for La Jetee and was greatly surprised by Sans Soleil. La Jetee spawned Twelve Monkeys and who knows how many other time travel films. It's still great on its own. Read more
Published 22 days ago by marg3404
5.0 out of 5 stars I think it is better seen more than once
La Jetée his is a classic. I have seen this many times. I think it is better seen more than once. I always show it to my film class.
Published 1 month ago by Paul T. Owen
5.0 out of 5 stars An unusual classic
Composed entirely of still images one after another shown for various durations (with one 3 second exception - watch for it) with narrations it tells it's story in a unique way. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Terry R. Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Sci Fi films I've ever seen
La Jetee is one of the best Sci Fi films I've ever seen. I would highly recommend watching it on a big screen for your first viewing (although chances are if you know of this film... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Holland Green
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love what film can really do...
Then you must enjoy yourself while watching Chris Marker's work. This Criterion DVD set is fantastic--the booklet, a fun, interesting combination of Marker's own thoughts, critical... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Leslie Karen Rigsbey
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent place in history, but not on your most watched list
The movie is clearly a European indie film from the early 1960s, and shows its weak budget. Its real importance is that it was the inspiration for [... Read more
Published 10 months ago by M. Joseph Young
5.0 out of 5 stars So glad I took a chance on this. fascinating stuff.
I had never heard of this director before but i thought the premise of these films sounded interesting. such a great chance purchase. These films were both hypnotic and surreal. Read more
Published 10 months ago by C. Moore
4.0 out of 5 stars Analysis of Sans Soleil
"The entire city is a comic strip."

In a time like our own, with crowds screaming for stimulation and fast paces, it is easy to forget the basis of what makes film... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Peter E. Frangel
5.0 out of 5 stars Films Which May Have Influenced Chris Marker
When I saw the film La Jetee, which investigates time and memory in detail, I immediately thought of a black and white art house French film released in 1962 named Last Year at... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Zarathustra
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