Sunday, March 20, 2011

La Jetee and Special Effects

One of the subjects we touched on lightly in class on Tuesday was the ability of La Jetee to portray an alternate reality where time travel is possible with relatively no special effects. I believe this is in large part due to the unorthodox film technique of using still images rather than actual shots with movement. I found the short movie to be a nice juxtaposition to other more advanced sci-fi films we watched, which portrayed similarly impossible alternate realities using special effects, fancy costumes and special effects. Nonetheless, I felt the film was able to put forth a similar mystique to draw in the audience while maintaining a realistic feel.

Although the still shot technique could be construed as laziness, I feel this artistic approach also left the short film open to interpretation while at the same time sheltered its plot from skepticism and having holes poked in the plot. Generally, movies dealing with time travel leave complicated loop holes open for debate, however by using still images, this film seems to skirt around that issue all together, and allows viewers like us to draw the conclusions on our own, even if those conclusions are as outlandish as saying that David Bowie's success can be attributed to his adept use of time traveling.


  1. This is the first time I have ever seen a type of movie like La Jetee due to its unique filming style. I believe they are limited on using special effects, yet they still can use them. For example, when the man was blinking in one of the scenes of the movie, while everything else was standstill. Also, there were many pictures with what seemed like detrimental damages from nuclear explosions, etc. I do find it also interesting that using this standstill photo technique allows for the ability to show time travel as more of a realistic thing because there aren't any transitions to show any loopholes or unrealistic time traveling flaws. In addition, I liked how all the scenes seemed to mix together as a collage/scrapbook to represent life, as if the movie was a scrapbook of the main character's life and how there is just someone telling the story as if it was a close friend or a parent. Although it is not my ideal movie as I like the more traditional special effects, I can see how this film could be seen as great due to the ambiguity it construes through the film techniques and lack of interaction b/w characters.

  2. I also enjoyed the unique filming style of La jetee. I have never seen a movie composed completely of still shots, and found it easier to follow than other fantasy/time travel movies we have watched. It seemed more like I was reading a picture book, though as Richard said, it was interesting that their was the one 'scene' where we witness a character blinking. Overall, even though I found this film to be easy to follow, I also found it to be somewhat boring and would not have chosen it to watch for 'fun'.