FILM: La Jetée (1962)
GENRE: Science Fiction, Drama
DIRECTOR: Chris Marker
RUNTIME: 28 mins
La Jatee (1962) is a film which narrates a conventional science fiction drama narrative, where a time travelling hero riddled with trauma searches the past and future in a desperate attempt to rehabilitate an apocalyptic city. He is constantly drawn to an image of a woman through his time travelling expeditions which ends in a tragic fate.
It is the way Director Chris Marker communicates the film, that makes the conventional narrative into an evocative revelation, ascribing to philosophical notions of time and the susceptibility of the human perception. The film is presented through a series of still images shot entirely in black and white, a simplicity which serves as both visually striking and evoking. The use of photomontage by Marker challenges pre existing conventions of moving image, highlighting the stillness in movement in turn emphasising the illusion of time lapse and memory fragility. The static nature of the cinematography replicates these gaps in recollection, experienced by both character and audience to possess a sense of entrapment. However it is through post processing that Marker is able to further condition the human perception to visualise movement within the film by using a series of transitions which pan and dissolve into each image (Sellars 2005). With its subject matter, La Jetee manages to provoke the complexities regarding perception and the subconscious, inciting discussion into “what is real”?.
Post viewing of La Jetee, we were asked to create our own photo montage. Our final opposed the sequential nature of photo montaging present in La Jetee, but instead were a series of photographs which evoked mood rather than narrative. We sought to embody the act of doing nothing, with the pub as our setting. We saw the pub as an environment which can instigate destructive behaviours such as gambling, alcohol and smoking addiction. The idea of highlighting destructive behaviours interested all group members, as we thought it to be highly relatable. Each frame had no inciteful content, however as a combined looping montage framed the idea of the mundane act of procrastination.
The exercise has provoked possible conceptual topics to explore for Project B, regarding ideas surrounding the art of wasting time and leisure of a destructive and addictive nature.
Simon Sellars. 2005. Retrospecto: La Jetée. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ballardian.com/la-jetee. [Accessed 28 March 2017]
Lamos Ignoramous. 2017. Chris Marker’s La Jetee Analysis: Mortality and the Illusion of Time. [ONLINE] Available at: http://filmslie.com/chris-marker-la-jetee-analysis-temporality/. [Accessed 28 March 2017].