Saturday, March 19, 2011

La Jetee: Conventionally Unconventional

Horror films use the (often times non-experienced) fears of people to evoke actual fears they can see first hand. These films often include supernatural occurrences, killings, demons, and savage animals. The style of horror films is also fairly distinctive, they are mainly composed of jump cuts which help to startle or confuse the viewer.

La Jetee was an interesting interpretation of a horror film. Composed mostly of snapshots the plot and experiences of the characters seemed more realistic. These haunting photos coupled with the monotone voiceover served as a eerie portrayal of a post-nuclear war story involving time travel. The male character becomes involved in this ‘medical’ experiment where all sorts of devices are attached to his body and his experimenters speak German. This is all too reminiscent to the Nazi experiments in Concentration Camps. The man is allowed to take himself back and forth through time, first remembering a murder he saw as a young child. Which leads him to the obsessive memory of a woman he saw on the pier as a child. The time travel makes a full circle when the man travel forward into the future.

In reality, La Jetee seems strange, but not that hair-raising. It is when all of the elements of the film are broken down and experienced by the viewer that it becomes creepy.

1 comment:

  1. The unconventional nature of La Jetee made it a challenge for me to decide if I liked the movie as a horror film. While it definitely has horror aspects, like the cyclical nature of time, foreshadowing of death, and hearkening of Nazi Germany as Jessica pointed out. Yet, to me the film seemed more like an art movement piece than a horror film. First, it was composed entirely of still images, which were often very visually striking and beautiful but rarely more than "eerie". Also, the narrator kept such a gentle, composed tone and was never used to create a sense of haunting or fear. In effect, La Jetee is a unique and intriguing film to watch, but I find it difficult to categorize if I were asked to do so outside the context of this class. I would not have marked the film as horror if I hadn't known to, but perhaps simply as an artistic uncanny film.