Homework #9: Experimental Film – Chris Marker’s “La Jetée” (1962)

Time traveler in Chris Marker's "La Jetée" 1962
Time traveler in Chris Marker’s “La Jetée” 1962

In 1962, Chris Marker released an experimental film that he described as a “photo roman” (a photo novel), which was comprised of editing together individual photographic stills rather than film shots. The result was La Jetée, a groundbreaking short film of science fiction about time travel in a post-apocalyptic world. Marker’s film inspired Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (1995) and a recent TV series of the same name. Watch Marker’s film (it is 28 min) and the trailer of Gilliam’s movie, and discuss the use of cinematic time travel. Is it successful in La Jetée? What movies have you seen that deal with time travel?

To watch an English version of La Jetée, you need to watch it in two parts:
Watch the important opening sequence of La Jetée by here (click on World War Three)

Watch the rest of La Jetée here (this version is missing the  very important first 3 min)

Watch the trailer of Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys here.

Homework #9 is DUE by Tuesday December 8th.
 Clubs and Hearts Post, Diamonds and Spades Comment.

8 thoughts on “Homework #9: Experimental Film – Chris Marker’s “La Jetée” (1962)”

  1. When i watch the LaJetee clips i saw some of the inspirarton that formed the 12 monkeys movie. Such as the part where it goes to the airport scene and a person dies and a boy witnessed the death. In 12 monkeys the movie the same thing happen and it was later reveled that the man dying at the airport was the boy who was an adult that was sent back to the past.

  2. 12 monkeys was inspired by La Jetee. The weak didn’t really make it in La Jetee. So they try someone strong, but he was stuck on one image. He was in love. When he tryed to get out and runs to her at the pier ,he see the doctor and they killed him. In 12 moneys everyone thought he was crazy. They did so many experiments on him. He was telling the the future. Nothing could crack him. I enjoyed the movies for time travel. One of my favorites was” Hot Tub Time machine .” They go back in time when they was teenagers and changed some negative stuff that happens to them on they senior trip. Hey come back as millionaires, computer genius and a singer. It’s very funny. I love comedy. Theirs a few more movies I like. But that tops it!!!Post…

    1. Latoya, thanks for mentioning hot tub time machine. That movie is actually good. The other one we could mention that can relate to going to the future is Click with Adam Sandler. Click as we remember is about a guy who is unhappy with his life and is magically given a remote control. The movie is comical but actually has a really heart felt theme . We always want to fast foward over pain or our troubles. But in the end, we should try to enjoy every moment we get even if it is pain. They all make memories in what we call life. At the end of Click, which made me cry, Adam Sandler has a heart attack and is the hospital and sees his wife leaving him. He runs out to her in the rain and tells her that he still loves her and his family. He even finally accepts her new husband. Honestly, it is such a nice movie and you dont think I am making it any mushier than it actually it.

  3. I’ve seen many films that had time travel in them, for example, “Back to the Future”, “Terminator”, “Looper”, “Déjà Vu”, etc. All these movies are really enjoyable to watch. In Terminator a cyborg assassin comes back from the future to kill Sarah Conner because in the future her child (John Conner) led the rebellion against Skynet. John himself in the future sends back a cyborg as well but to help protect his mother. In the movie Déjà Vu, a secret agent name Doug Carlin is trying to solve a missing person case using technology where you can look back in the past. Later on as he was told that they are able to send materialized items back, he soon later found himself putting his body in harms way to travel back in time in the machine.

  4. World War Three was very boring to me. I couldn’t get into it. The introduction took a very long time to begin and lost my attention. I didn’t find the storyline appealing. 12 monkey’s had a lot more action. I paid more attention to it. Being a time traveling film and science fiction, I enjoyed the film better. Bruce willis and Brad Pitt are two of my favorite actors and I’ve seen the film before. It’s a strong attention grabber.

    1. i would agree that 12 monkeys seems more interesting. In the clip it has more action and a good feeling that the movie is gonna be good. The movies both have the same use of time travel. the 12 monkey film looks much better to describe the narrative , since there is time travel movie and i think its for in this time is better to make a time travel movie is to really have a story and to show ht time travel. La jettee film may be really good, but i think there needs to be more to a movie to describe a hard concept of time travel then just picture and making it in to a movie. time travel movies are could some of the hardest to make film good in my opinion if they make time travel and story good it should be good, but it could easily go bad

  5. I think La Jatee was an interesting experimental piece to watch, despite it being entirely made of individual photographic stills. The narration in the movie managed to grab my attention. I think it is amazing that this movie has inspirited many other time travel films. The fact that the story was successfully told in images is intriguing. Other time travel movies I have enjoyed include, Back to the Future, Donnie Darko (my absolute favorite), Hot Tub Time Machine, The Butterfly Effect, The Terminator and Star Trek.

  6. I definitely agree with Rebecca. La Jetee was an interesting film, although it was individual photographs. This film has paved the way for many time traveling films, such as Back to the future (one of my favorites), Donnie Darko, etc. The narrator in the film pretty much is the center of the film, without the narrative point of view, there would be no film.

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