Monday, September 17, 2012

La Jetée (The Pier) (Chris Marker)

The moment.

If pictures can paint a thousand words, then "La Jetée", directed by the late Chris Marker, has solidly proven that putting them in succession can also tell a story that's way ahead of time and can also impart a futuristic idea that's both thematically transcendent and deeply human. Let Terry Gilliam's "Twelve Monkeys" serve as the main testament of the film's far-reaching influence. 
Composed only of black and white stills and a moody narration (by Jean Négroni), "La Jetée" is a surprising proof of the power of cinematic narrative even when there are no literal movements on screen. It's also a film that treads the territories of hard science fiction, the elliptical tendencies of time and some probing existentialism. Although the narration was structured like that of a poem, it has not fallen in the clutches of vagueness. 
The use of the photographs has also fascinated me because it has given the film an otherworldly feel, a sense of ironic calm (even amid its apocalyptic premise) and its own distinct identity as an art piece. Even with the utter simplicity of its execution, the film was still very successful in telling a complex story of humanity trapped within the cycle of life and death, memories and time. Well, maybe we will never see a film quite like "La Jetée" again.


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