La Jetée Summary + Mini Project

La Jetée (1962) is an abstract compilation of black & white imagery and static, disjointed motion clips that elaborate on a science-fiction-like storyline. The experimental use of such still materials combined with subtle cinematic movements create newfound perceptions and illusions of time that trick the audience and entrap them in a space of total stillness that simultaneously progressively moves forward.

The sound in the short film by Chris Marker is the main source of temporality and rhythm and serves as an editing framework that helps to shape transitions in the audience’s mind. Bruce Kawin views this as “…an apparent difference between event time and film time that vanishes into the systemic understanding of first, the stasis of the accessible instant, and second, the ways consciousness transforms what it observes and up against the problem of conceiving absolute stasis.[1] It is through the use of audio effects (ie. voiceover, heartbeat) and a basic soundtrack paired with the visuals, notions on the relativity of time and conventional movement are explored which in turn, constantly questions the unreliability of human perception.



For the in-class mini project, our photo montage consisted of a never-ending loop of 15 images to illustrate the mundane monotony that can be a persons life. Highlighting the nature of doing nothing, almost to the point of venerating the entire concept of ‘nothingness’, we made the artistic choice to keep all the images flashing at the same speed and for the same amount of time. In addition, our subject matter within each frame was of nothing entirely special or thought provoking, emphasising this sense of tedium.

Through the combination and interweaving of black and white and neon coloured imagery, we reflected on the fascination with consumerism and destructive obsession with gambling, a mere example of a compelling activity that one interacts with in an attempt to fill those ever-growing moments of nihility.

This activity served as a form of conceptual experimentation as this exploration on the ideas around wasting time and definitively vexatious leisure.



[1] Kawin, B. 1982, Time and Stasis in “La Jetée”, Film Quarterly, vol 36, no 1, pp.15-20, viewed 1 April 2017, <;.


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