La Jetée (1962)
Born Christian Francois Bouche-Villeneuve, writer-director-photographer-artist-philosopher-traveler Chris Marker, changed his name to reflect the significations of the Magic Marker pen. Many have referred to Marker as “magic,” alluding to his gift of charming audiences. One project represented by his work is a meditation on the hidden element that sustains desire.
Translated “The Jetty” or “The Pier,” La Jetée is Chris Marker’s best known film alongside Sans Soleil (1983) and AK (1985), amidst a vast body of works. The film is a twenty-eight minute, black and white photomontage. The story concerns one obsessive image, a lifespan, and the relationship between the future, present and past with the interplay of memory. Trevor Duncan composed the score for the film.
Perhaps most singularly responsible for bringing Marker’s short film to the attention of wider audiences is Terry Gilliam’s 1995 release 12 Monkeys, conceptually derived from the premise of La Jetée. Other works that pay homage to the film include Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982), David Bowie’s music video for “Jump They Say,” and Elliott Smiths’s “Son of Sam” video, directed by Autumn de Wilde. A bar in Tokyo called La Jetée showcases stills from the film and hails itself as “a cozy hang out for filmmakers.”
Further evidence that the film has maintained its seductive power, the Criterion Collection issued a re-release of La Jetée/Sans Soleil in 2007, and in 2008, Zone Books re-released the book version of the images and script of the film in English and French.
- Story A+
- Acting NA
- Visuals A
- Originality/Innovation A+
- Enjoyability A+
- Overall A+
- DVD Extras B+