8.3/10
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118 user 112 critic

La Jetée (1962)

La jetée (original title)
The story of a man forced to explore his memories in the wake of World War III's devastation, told through still images.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jean Négroni ...
Narrator (voice) (as Jean Negroni)
Hélène Chatelain ...
The Woman
Davos Hanich ...
The Man
Jacques Ledoux ...
The Experimenter
André Heinrich
Jacques Branchu
Pierre Joffroy
Étienne Becker ...
(as Etienne Becker)
Philbert von Lifchitz
...
A woman from the future (as Ligia Borowcyk)
Janine Klein ...
A woman from the future
William Klein ...
A man from the future (as Bill Klein)
Germano Facetti ...
(as Germano Faccetti)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
James Kirk ...
Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

Time travel, still images, a past, present and future and the aftermath of World War III. The tale of a man, a slave, sent back and forth, in and out of time, to find a solution to the world's fate. To replenish its decreasing stocks of food, medicine and energies, and in doing so, resulting in a perpetual memory of a lone female, life, death and past events that are recreated on an airports jetée. Written by Cinema_Fan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

16 February 1962 (France)  »

Also Known As:

La Jetée  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

When the man is holding the arm of the woman in the park near the middle of the movie, his hand is visible between her arm and her body, but his arm is not visible. Only the background can be seen between them. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: Above ground, Paris, like most of the world, was uninhabitable, riddled with radioactivity. The victors stood guard over a kingdom of rats.
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Crazy Credits

In the opening titles it states "Avec la participation du Service de la Recherche de la R.T.F.". For one frame, this changes into "Avec la participation du Service de la Trouvaille de la R.T.F.". See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Vastness of Space
(uncredited)
Music by Trevor Duncan
Plays during the time travel scene near the end
Boosey & Hawkes Ltd
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Brief moments, frozen in time
16 March 2008 | by See all my reviews

La Jettée (1962) is not only the most important work of science-fiction cinema since Fritz Lang's masterwork Metropolis (1927), but is also one of the most staggering achievements in the entire history of film. Here, filmmaker Chris Marker presents the audience with the ultimate cinematic dystopia; a futuristic, industrialised landscape of underground tunnels, colourless streets and jarring 60's architecture. The results are beautiful yet somewhat anachronistic, as the filmmaker employs a similar approach to that of Godard in Alphaville (1965) - or more recently, Winterbottom's Code 46 (2003) - albeit, with a less straightforward attitude to plot and ideology.

The basic narrative outline of the film is built around various reflective layers - similar to what Tarkovsky would use in his later film, Mirror (1975) - which allow Marker to create a certain feeling of mirroring between the notions of fact and fiction, life and death, reality and fantasy and so on. This, in turn, further develops the characters and the world of which they inhabit. The reason the film works without becoming a cold, lifeless lecture is because it anchors the images of nuclear holocaust and scientific exploration within humanistic characters and a sense of unashamed romanticism. But this is only one part of an elaborate puzzle; lest we forget that we are dealing with certain narrative paradoxes, not to mention an assortment of linear and non-linear story elements each unfolding simultaneously. Just when we think we've got the whole film worked out, our perspectives immediately change, and our ideas are lost in the blink of an eye.

However, aside from thematic visual palindromes, what is most remarkable about La Jettée - and the reason it has retained its reputation as a work of genius - is the way in which Marker manages to relate his story of travel and movement through the use of still images. By presenting these pictures to us in a sort of photo-montage - complete with brooding voice-over and various sound effects - the director somehow manages to bring the stillness of his film miraculously to life. It is, without question, a work of pure, unadulterated imagination, and a staggering testament to Marker's genius ability to convey a multitude of feelings, ideas and emotions, through a series of simple, static, though nonetheless, deeply evocative images.


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