Saturday, March 19, 2011

La Jetée

I find the most striking part of this short film to be the use of still images as opposed to film. I think it is a blatant representation of how our memories actually work. Our memories are not like a roll of film, playing out every scene we experience in perfect sequence but is instead like flipping through a book of snapshots from our lives, some pictures clearer than others and some not there at all. The fact that the characters went unnamed was also a characteristic of how the film creates realistic rendition of how memories work. We don't always remember peoples' names but we can remember their faces.
In fact, I've read that you cannot fabricate faces in your dreams, that every character in a dream you have is a person that you have at least seen once before in your conscious life. This is why I believe the snapshot of the woman in the beginning is so important to the man who is sent forward and backward in time. Although he doesn't know anything about her besides what her face looks like, he continues to return to her in his time travel which are in a way like dreams.


  1. I totally agree. I enjoyed this movie because I saw it as a scrapbook of the story. As the narrator was telling it, he was showing each photo by photo and giving the movie a really interesting feeling. I have never experienced a movie like this before and it just gave it a indescribable feeling.

    Even though this sort of movie is interesting, it certainly wouldn't work on movies played in the theater today. This style of movie also wouldn't really be possible, or make a lot of sense, to tell a story in the present because then the element of already having photographs would ruin the idea of the story being in the present. While having the story in the past, the pictures make the story seemed archived and direct from memory. I did enjoy it but would not want to watch a movie like this for more than 30 minutes.

  2. I also agree that the use of still photographs was a phenomenal way to bring the audience into the film. It puts you in the right frame of mind to consider the power of memories and the images invoke. It is also interesting to consider the success of a film like this in today’s world of action-packed and special effects laden films. Would someone choose to watch a film, even a short one, that wasn’t going to make them jump in their seats from the shocking effects? I also don’t know if I could watch it for more than 25 minutes but regardless of that, La Jetée accomplishes it mission completely, pulling the audience into the time travel with the simplest of techniques.

  3. Jade: You bring up an interesting read about how you don't fabricate faces in your dream. I've dreamed of people that I've seen on a daily basis, but I'm not even acquainted with them. I know I recognize faces a lot more than names, so I didn't find La Jetee uncomfortable with nameless characters. I just identified them with their faces.

    Erin: I'm also curious to see what people will consider watching more: the one filled with special effects and computer graphics or a film that tells a story through a series of photos. I feel like each type of movie will still have some sort of lasting effect on a person. But you're right Erin, I don't think a lot of people could watch a photo film for too long. I think might mainly be because people still have to fill in the action in their minds.