I just saw La Jetée for the second time last night (the first was in the theater some years ago). I was wondering, have there been any imitators of this style — stills with voice over narration, a tiny bit of moving image embedded almost as a surprise? BTW, I’ve heard about the reason this film was done this way. Out of necessity Chris Marker created a very interesting and, as far as I know, unique way of making a movie.
So has anyone done an homage to him since by making a similarly styled film?
I’m so sure I’ve seen something else like this and thought of La Jetée when I saw it, but now it slips my mind. I’m hoping someone mentions it, because now it is bugging me.
reminds me of something similar with the use of still photos
also reminded me of it
Me too — that is, I hope someone mentions it. :)
That first movie annoys me. It looks pretty but it’s basically an empty, overly long commercial. :P Pet peeve of mine.
@ODI — I think la jetee is so distinctive in its style that it would be hard to imitate it without seeming derivative.
@Kate — I think someone could do a film in the style of it and not be derivative. I have faith. :) Many people have used famous works as inspiration and done something of their own with it that builds on the original, doesn’t repeat it.
brainfart, carry on
BTW, I’ve heard about the reason this film was done this way. Out of necessity Chris Marker created a very interesting and, as far as I know, unique way of making a movie.
What is this reason?
12 Monkeys is thematically inspired by La Jetee and a few scenes are direct homages, but it doesn’t have the same still photo style.
Viajo Porque Preciso, Volto Porque te Amo is one of the most interesting films I’ve ever seen, formally. A mix of documentary realism, and fiction narratives containing a mixture of standard definition digital video, 8mm film, and still photos.
It’s all voiceover, like La Jetee, and has a similar gaze and overall melancholy feeling (though they go in polar opposite directions)…
If I were to pick one film that seems inspired by Marker, but did it in a totally unique manner, without ever feeling derivative… Viajo Porque Preciso, Volto Porque te Amo…
Carlos and Selma. They spent the night making out in the circus box-office. They’ve had two major bust-ups, the kind to end it all. She says she likes the slapping, but not the fights. He says that women have to be kept in check, and she agrees. He talks about marriage, she says she wants to travel. He promises eternal love and heads off with the circus. She stays put. And he travels because he has to.
Guerín’s “Unas fotos en la ciudad de Sylvia” is obviously influenced by “La jetée”. Not sure if I would call it an imitation, but it resembles Marker’s style and centers around the same thematic concerns.
Films exploring the use of stills:
Abstraction 14 – GARAGE
Abstraction 14 from Morgan on Vimeo.
Abstraction 20 from Morgan on Vimeo.
@Kate — I’ve heard it was purely money! I.e., he didn’t have the money for moving picture film. And I wish I remember where I heard/read that… Maybe it’s a legend…
@M — Those are gorgeous!
Oh, you mean the style, not the plot. Then I haven’t seen anything like La Jetee.
It would be a terrible simplification to call it just an imitation of La Jetée, but Ôshima’s powerful Diary of a Yunbogi Boy should be what you’re looking for.
Yugen from Jesse Richards on Vimeo.
Paintbrush from Alex Barrett on Vimeo.
@ Odi I’ve heard it was purely money!
Me too – I think Quay bros said that he found the music he used at a library – so it was copyright free.
Ôshima’s powerful Diary of a Yunbogi Boy should be what you’re looking for.
Interesting. I haven’t seen Yunbogi Boy yet, though the Oshima film that reminded me most of La jetee is his sole anime Band of Ninja, with it’s formally unusual style of directly filming the pages of the manga, though the similarities with La Jetee are admittedly on a superficial level.
@Robert — I think that is an INCREDIBLE example of making do with what you have, and also the determination to make a movie with whatever you have, no matter what. Truly an inspiration on all fronts. Would be a great way to teach a class, if only to test people’s mettle on discovering new ways of working with a medium that has been very much pigeon-holed in terms of style over the years (i.e. huge influence of the theater).
Also thought about the popularity of graphic novels these days, how interesting it would be to, rather than make a typical movie in terms of style, or animation, keep it to the feeling of a book but obviously incorporate the qualities exclusive to film — movement, sound, pacing, editing, and all those other fun things that you can do.
The style of La Jetee has a lot of potential. If truly few have tried to take it further, it would be a good time to do so now. Think of the possibilities…
There is a sequence like this in Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.
@Odi I think that is an INCREDIBLE example of making do with what you have, and also the determination to make a movie with whatever you have, no matter what.
Marker had something he had to say. I think the style came from that and why it isn’t found elsewhere – that personal vision thingy. As an artist it is exciting to see someone so in control of a medium’s limitations.
When I made the switch from large format to digital, I was concerned about losing the limitations that I had learned, but realized that I would do the opposite of those limitations: from sharp to soft , from daylight to crepuscular, from rural to city – becoming a vespertine flâneur.
@Robert — exactly. Didn’t we have a conversation a long time ago on the forums about the usefulness of limitations? What was it now, I seem to remember a quote, or something we all kept repeating to one another, like a mantra…
“vespertine flâneur” — what a nice and specific phrase! :)
Now I’ve got to watch all these fabulous clips you guys have posted.
Wonder what it would be like, thinking again on the level of another Garage collaborative project like the Ergodic, to do something with a bunch of people in that style. Visually, it would be pretty different, and fun! I especially like the idea of slipping in some moving images when unexpected, or to make a certain impact. To have a project in the works like this… hmmm… and each filmmaker could decide when they want to put that bit of sudden movement in, leaving the viewer guessing. Another version, a continuing story online with this style that now and then morphs, or when replaying one story, making the moving parts different each time.
heh can’t wait to see how Exquisite corpse turns out.
Ya know I am a producer on that ? lol
The Vertigo sequence in Sans Soleil
@Robert — yeah, I can’t wait to see that project either! Did not know you were a producer on it. I’ve heard some of the stuff coming in is AMAZING. It’s going to be worth the wait. Yay for doing new stuff!
@John — yes, saw Sans Soleil last night, right after La Jetee. Interesting flick, images still sticking in my mind, but the content, need to mull over it a little more, read about it, and see it again some time from now. Some of the themes from La Jetee seem to be repeated there, an interest in memory, creating reality through it, what the line really is between death and life, things lost and never found again….
While La Jetee is one of my all time favorite films, I found myself drifting off during parts of Sans Soleil.
That happened to me too actually. I found the images more interesting than the narrative, mainly because it seemed very long and in some ways repetitive in terms of the ideas, or so I felt, but I was also very tired when I saw it, so I do want to see it again one day.
An interesting companion film to Sans Soleil is Trinh T. Min-ha’s The Fourth Dimension. I actually like Trinh’s film much more (which is saying quite a bit).
This reminds that I need to finally go on that Marker binge I’ve been talking about…
I saw Sans Soleil in the theater about three years ago. It was actually during a week-long Werner Herzog retrospective, but, on the night I went, Herzog decided to show a film that he didn’t make but just wanted people to see. He pretty much bowed before Chris Marker in his introductory remarks, essentially calling him a poet with a film camera. I knew nothing of Marker at the time, or of this film, Sans Soleil, but was mesmerized from the very first frames—I had never seen anything like it. I know other people have not had the same reactions—early on it got a very negative review in the NY Times from Vincent Canby—but I walked out of the theater believing it was the greatest film I had ever seen, and I rarely experience that level of certainty about anything.