Thoughts on La jetee

Sunday, September 19, 2010 1:28 PM By Simon

(please forgive lack of accents)

-One of these days I'm going to write an essay on experimental film. One of these days.

-Told almost entirely through still photographs, dialogueless but for the narrator and some other voices muttering in German, Le jetee plays more like a slide show than a movie, yet at 28 minutes, it never gets dull or grows old. Easily could've been a short story, a radio play (they still have those, right?), something, the images are almost not necessary, but they make the whole thing somehow richer. Visual homages to Hitchcock, getting to see Paris is ruins, the face that stays with the narrator and encourages this little tale, I can't imagine the story without them.

-Right. A man (Davos Hanich) is living in a post-nuclear Paris Underground--literally, a series of connected underground galleries, where survivors of WW3 are divided into Victors and Prisoners, he of the latter. The Victors have been experimenting with time travel, hoping to warn the past and/or raid the future for supplies, but have had little luck, either driving the human guinea pigs mad or killing them. They conclude that they need someone who is mentally sound enough to withstand the shock of time travel, ie someone with a single image from the past burnt into his memory. The man, as luck would have it, has a childhood memory, just before the bombings that destroyed the city, of a woman standing on a pier (Helene Chatelain). This memory is vague but obsessive, making him the perfect candidate. Going back, he finds the woman at various times, a constantly disappearing presence she welcomes.

-It really is a beautiful little film.


SugaryCynic said...

that sounds really cool. Where'd you find this?

September 19, 2010 at 5:31 PM
Simon said...

Sugary: You know how you add something on Netflix, then they give you all these options in a pop up, and you keep adding stuff until you get bored? Like that. It's on Instant.

September 19, 2010 at 6:29 PM
the jaded viewer said...

I saw this right after I saw 12 Monkeys...I wanted to know what the differences were. 12 Monkeys is kinda better.

September 20, 2010 at 8:47 PM
Yojimbo_5 said...

Actually, La Jetee is kinda better. "12 Monkeys" has Brad Pitt back in the days when he tried desperately to "act." And Gilliam's expansion does the original no justice. "12 Monkeys" is to "La Jetee" what "2010" is to "2001."

October 6, 2010 at 8:21 AM