La Jetée (1962) - Underrated Films and Hidden Gems *Spoiler Free Review*

in #movies6 years ago

The quest for offbeat pieces of cinematic art should definitely include a screening of La Jetée, a highly innovative and experimental French film. Even though it is only 25 minutes long, La Jetée is a seamless incorporation of Science Fiction, a very intense and touching love story, and a reflection on human nature – my favorite kind of film.

La Jetée (1962)

Director: Chris Marker

What is it about? 

After the Third World War, most of the cities on Earth have been destroyed and contaminated with radiation; Paris is no exception. Survivors bear miserable lives in underground facilities, where questionable experiments regarding time-traveling are being conducted in order to try and find a way out of the hopeless apocalypse humanity led itself into. The nameless protagonist of the story is chosen as a test subject to travel back to the past, because of his fixation with a haunting memory of an event he witnessed as a child, a memory associated with the unforgettable face of a woman present in the scene.

 What makes it special and worth watching? 

When you watch La Jetée, you immediately realize that this is a film that is very different from any other. To begin with, there is almost no filming per se – the whole movie is one big slide show of black and white photographs with a voice over narrating the story, plus some musical tracks that highlight some of the scenes. It might sound tedious, but it works wonderfully, since every single shot is of a striking beauty, carefully arranged and composed, conveying deep emotions and evoking sublime feelings.

I am a firm believer that highly stylized films like this nurture the spirit and the creativity, since there is so much material in there to take in and feel inspired. Also, La Jetée is a magnificent example of how a small budget is not an obstacle to make a great work of art; creativity and imagination can make up for – and even exceed – material limitations in order to create a truly unique piece of cinema.

The story is very original, interesting and enthralling, and the photographic display increases its emotive impact. It is no surprise, then, that Terry Gilliam – of Monty Python fame – took this movie as the base for his film Twelve Monkeys. Even though big Hollywood re-makes tend to have the ability to specifically destroy the particular charm that made a small movie special, I have to say that this is a very honorable exception. Despite having Bruce Willis as a protagonist, Gilliam managed to preserve the essence of the original story, while successfully expanding the idea and nicely interweaving some other fascinating material that enriches the film. It should be noted, however, that while La Jetée mostly centers on the beautifully haunting love story, Twelve Monkeys pays more attention to the Post-Apocalyptic scenario and the Philosophically-oriented Science Fiction aspect of the film.


Gentlemen Broncos ( Jared Hess, 2009)

The avid discussion in the previous post made me realize that this series could be much richer, diverse and fun with your contributions! 

Have you seen the film or know of any other similar pieces of cinema that are worth recommending? Let us know in the comment section…




Image sources: IMDB, the rest are stills taken from the film itself.


More posts like this. Well constructed pieces on great film with visually compelling stills. Awesome.

@eeks Thank you for your feedback! I very much appreciate it.
For sure, I will keep them coming.

Haven't even heard of this. I'm a huge fan of Terry Gilliam and in particular twelve monkeys. So, I look forward to watching this. Thanks.

If you already watched Twelve Monkeys, you already know the main part of the story, but La Jetée is still highly recommended since the style is very different and it is really a wonderful and moving work of art, especially if you take into account it was made more than fifty years ago!

Fifty years ago? God that makes me feel old! When I studied La Jetee at university it was only thirty five years old, where did that all go? Lovely post by the way, it is an excellent film!

@surrealist, I know! However it still stands the test of time. Thank you very much for leaving your feedback!

My pleasure, thank you for reminding me of it!

Ohhhhh this is a good one. Another great post!

It is! One of my personal favorites.

It's such a mind-boggling and devastating movie... So simple, so deep at the same time, a gem which disproves the need to make trilogies, prequels, and 3 hours epic to touch the soul of the audience :) Everyone should see it.

No need for multi-million budgets when you have great original material, wonderful photography and a creative, visionary edge. Also, they managed to pack such an extraordinary story in less than 30 minutes.

I think one of the things I liked about this film is that it really evokes that strange eerie feeling of mystery when watching it. Like the first film of Ghost in the Shell (the Japanese one, of course), or Blade Runner do.

aaaah.. Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell :) What a master work.

Sorry for being an ass

@gingyptian If you take a look at the pictures at the bottom of that post, you will realize that I am the original author of that post ;-)

Whooaaa right, well it's just that I was so disappointed by a great article being copied. Kudos on your review :)

No worries! On the contrary, given the large amount of stolen articles and incidents of the sort happening on Steemit, it is a good thing that its users stay vigilant to prevent this kind of abuse. In this case, though, I just happened to have been copy-pasting my own writing, hehe ;-)

I can't wait for the next gem :)

hey upvoted and followed ! check my blog about cryptos :) follow for follow ?

this is really nice. thanks @irime for this post

Thank you for commenting :-)

Certes un xcellent classique!..Mais pas très courageux!..Anway,..take care @irime!peace

Thank you for your feedback, I appreciate it!

U welcome!..i love ton amour du CINÉMA!^^)