Not long after its release in 1962, Chris Maker’s short film La Jettée became an iconic piece for post-war European cinema. Through it’s radically political themes and eccentric filming style, it’s not hard to see why. While the film touches on consumerism and war, the underlying theme of torture is unavoidable. La Jetée draws inspiration from Henri Alleg’s famous book La Question and its sensitive qualities of hallucination, pain, and horror which is then carried over into Markers ‘representation of France’s emergent commodity culture’ (Croombs 2017).
The film ‘depicts a not-so-distant future where a prisoner of war is subjected to a series of painful experiments that enable him to “travel” in time. Wether this passage is actual or physical, or mental or spiritual is ambiguous…’ (Rodowick 1997, p.4-5).
The montage style of film used by Maker encourages the audience to pay attention to sound and word. There is a constant flow between three main sounds within the film: diegetic sounds of Paris and people in the streets which are drowned out by dreamy classical music which is then interrupted by hushed and eerie voices. The combination of erratic image montage and these sounds create an emotionally charged, suspenseful yet confusing movie.
Our group was then presented with the task of creating a short film using a montage of images. With a short time limit and our location in Redfern we set out to explore the local area. After having a discussion over our views for the end project, we realised our common interest in the notion of time, wasting time and how lacuna fits into this. As a creative group we sympathised with each others common struggle of wasting time and purposely creating gaps in our day devoid of productive activity.
Just across the road from our home at 107 Projects, we found a pub which is a perfect example of a social hub and productivity hole in every community. The endless loop in which our images are played represents this endless cycle of self-destructive behaviours we engage in and the distractions we bring upon ourselves to create bigger gaps of time within which we achieve very little. A focus on the repetition of the bar, another drink, another glimpse of the surroundings, the enticing colours of the gaming room all add to the effect.
To improve upon this project we could have added and element of sound – wether it be music or a voiceover to compliment or contradict the storyline portrayed by the images. It could have been interesting to pick something contradictory such as the thorough thought process while actually in the midst of creating or designing. Another element to strengthen the film could have been the elimination of images as the series repeats or the changing of their order.
From what spanned from a series of random ideas, I am actually quiet pleased with the result and can see how we could take conceptual ideas from this task and develop them further for our final project. It was also a great task to get to know the group, not because we were in the pub, but to see everyones visual style while photographing and what each person finds aesthetically pleasing.
Croombs, M. 2017, ‘La jetée in Historical Time: Torture, Visuality, Displacement,’ Cinema Journal, vol. 56, no. 2.
Rodowick, D. 1997, Gilles Deleuze′s Time Machine, Duke University Press, Durham NC.