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La Jetee 1963 NR CC

4.4 out of 5 stars (19) IMDb 8.4/10

Chris Marker 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. Marker's La Jetée is one of the most influential, radical science-fiction films ever made, a tale of time travel told in still images.

Starring:
Jean Négroni, Hélène Chatelain
Runtime:
28 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Science Fiction, Drama, Romance
Director Chris Marker
Starring Jean Négroni, Hélène Chatelain
Supporting actors Davos Hanich, Jacques Ledoux, André Heinrich, Jacques Branchu, Pierre Joffroy, Étienne Becker, Philbert von Lifchitz, Ligia Branice, Janine Klein, William Klein, Germano Facetti
Studio The Criterion Collection
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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A black and white slide show might not sound like the basis for a classic film but in this case, it works. The film is about closed time-like loops or to be clearer, about the idea that time travel is only possible when the traveller cannot change the past because the traveller's travels and all his actions therein are an already established fact from the past. It is also a love story.

A boy grows into a man who survives a nuclear war and is compelled to travel back in time (through some ill-defined sort of mental telepathy) in order to save humanity. He falls in love while in the past despite a growing sense of anxiety and premonition. Eventually, despite the illusion of free will and choice, he becomes party to a terrible event from his childhood.

It really is a slide show except for a few artful seconds when his sleeping lover awakens in bed. The effect is dark and haunting. This is a classic of cinema and of science fiction. The film called "12 Monkeys" was based upon La Jetee but the original is far more unsettling.
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After learning the film "Twelve Monkeys" was based on this film, I had to see it. I heard it was made up of mostly still footage. I was pleasantly surprised because it added a whole new dimension to film making.

The medium of a motion picture provides a lot of realism to a film. In the plot's favor, the stills along with lighting and costume, evoke imaginative thought from the audience. It's plot that transcends space and time needed the extra fog of the presentation style. It sets a mood motion pictures couldn't. It's somewhere between reading a book and watching a film. Being a dystopia enthusiast, although this may not completely qualify as such, I enjoyed the detailed stills. Some would be worthy of "comic book" status, as the angles and stylized presentation seem to be ripped from a page of a classic magazine.

I highly enjoyed this short film, especially its format. However, the plot was a little "out there". The overall paradox of the plot is wonderful, however other parts feel like outdated sci-fi--even for the time of this film. Some of the imagery, both spoken and visually portrayed, is particularly poor surrounding those who help our protagonist go back to a time before the horrific war. A pseudo deus ex machina.

Some French speakers don't think the English version quite does justice to the original script. As a non French speaker I unfortunately cannot comment on the subject, but I thought it important to mention.

Chances are I would think anyone could enjoy this incredibly creative film, especially those who enjoyed "Twelve Monkeys". La Jetee laid the foundation for the pace, and paradox themed "Twelve Monkeys". But inspiration for other films aside, La Jetee holds its own with a truly unique presentation of stills and motion pictures. This is where a low budget can have good results.
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A masterpiece of cinema! Required viewing for all science fiction fans, filmmakers and cineastes. Highly recommended for film students and photographers.
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La Jetee is a 1962 black and white 28 minute sci-fi multi-media product, consisting largely of still photographs with a very brief film near the end. It has an accompanying musical score and occasional voice-over. The “film” takes place in post WW 3 Paris, at some near future date, when time travel is just being invented. A prisoner is “sent back” some 30 years to a time before the war, where he searches out and finds a woman whom he recalls from his past.

The prisoner is played by Davos Hanich and the woman is played by Helene Chatelain, neither of whom have you probably seen before. The film is written and directed by Chris Marker (1921-2012), a French film maker associated with the Left Bank Cinema movement of the 1950s.

The film apparently inspired Terry Gilliam’s 1995 film “12 Monkeys” which was a phenomenal film, featuring not only a great plot, but excellent performances from Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, neither of whom are known for such quality work. Considering how remarkable “12 Monkeys” is, it is even more remarkable that “La Jetee” gave birth to the film.

La Jetee is certainly an interesting and provocative film, and the use of still photography to tell the story is way ahead of its time. Sci fi fans will enjoy this film, but it wouldn’t be among my top films on time travel – “12 Monkeys” (1995), “Time after Time” (1979), “Time Bandits” (1981), “Back to the Future” (1985), “The Terminator” (1984), “Planet of the Apes” (1968), “The Time Machine” (1960), and “Frequency” (2000).
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There's a reason this is on Top 100 All-Time Lists. Stunning and unconventional, it will challenge everything you've come to know about narrative structure in filmmaking.
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Chris Marker's essential sci-fi short La Jetee (1962). Significant for its use of motifs, poetry, and using still images as a distinct metaphor for time and memory...also significant use of the film essay that plays out as philosophy involving time travel and the human psyche.
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I watched this after watching 12 Monkeys so I knew what was going to happen and I knew I would enjoy it. It's still a classic and worth the time to check it out.
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