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Kritiker-Rezensionen
Am Rande des Rollfelds
Chris Marker Frankreich, 1962
There is the film that gets my vote for the greatest short film ever made, and which for some reason is never discussed as a horror film. La Jetée, Chris Marker’s structurally adventurous, aesthetically sublime 1962 dispatch from the margins of the French New Wave is often referred to as science fiction, and it has all the hallmarks. Yet for this viewer at least, those generic touchstones—time travel, post-apocalypse, fiendish experiments, existential terror—read just as easily as horrific.
October 25, 2016
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It’s somewhere in between the photographic and the cinematic that the singular effect of La Jetée is crafted. Marker’s subtraction of cinema’s ostensibly essential kernel, the moving image, has the effect of making the film’s viewer uncannily sensible to the fact of watching a film, of getting marked by it, and moving with it.
August 03, 2016
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This half-hour-long stunner still haunts us as a marvel of deceptive simplicity. Which isn’t to say it’s deceitful. But, to quote the narrator, “images begin to ooze like confessions.” Here again is Marker the cunning self-abstractionist. Yes, this is a movie full of great sci-fi stuff—time-travel, apocalypse, cosmic desire—but at its core is a delicious and doomed romance.
May 03, 2016
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No less than its inspiration, Hitchcock’s Vertigo, La Jetée demands equal attention to the elusive image and to the dilemmas and rewards of its pursuit—dilemmas and rewards that circle the stubborn problem of authorship and the limits of narrative surprise. La Jetée’s great theme of the transporting power of images finds striking form in the film’s concatenation of still shots, but the voice-over narration never fully prepares for these shots, which therefore always verge on surprise encounters.
September 15, 2015
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Simply unlike any other film in the history of cinema. It is certainly not the only film to be composed out of still images, but its triumph is to harness them, using the classic grammar of the narrative fiction film, to the ultimate spare, stripped-down storyline (a mere twenty-seven minutes in length): a postapocalyptic science-fiction tale of tragic heroism and lost love, which turns on the fatal attraction of images and the price paid for that desire.
February 07, 2012
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The horrible sense of déjà vu that must have enveloped Marker and his peers must have heightened his existing interest in memory and time. La Jetée uses a straightforward science-fiction device—time travel—to explore the paradoxes of the human mind that allow us to experience simultaneously the past, present, and future.
February 03, 2008
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Through an assemblage of gorgeous black-and-white stills, Marker shows a devastated Paris in the aftermath of World War III, where the few survivors are scurrying underground due to radiation levels on the surface… With its brilliant conceit, which tightens the narrative and offers a lesson on editing fundamentals, the film reaches a conclusion common to a lot of time-travel stories, which is that knowledge of the future doesn’t necessarily empower people to change it.
July 18, 2007
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If you’ve seen “La Jetée” or Terry Gilliam’s 1996 remake, Twelve Monkeys, you know the film’s final, devastating twist. If not, I won’t spoil it here, except to say that the story ends where it begins and that its plot is a pretext for Marker to examine the impermanence of experience and the fragility—sometimes falsity—of remembered images, the shards we cling to as we journey from abyss to abyss.
June 28, 2007
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The film’s parable-like concision derives not only from the elegantly lucid text but also from the evocative precision of the images, and from the spareness of the montage. La Jetéefeels not only like a photo-roman but also like a photographed storyboard for a science-fiction film yet to be made… The peculiar, indeed exceptional, formal qualities of La Jetée lead viewers, consciously or otherwise, to reappraise their conceptions of the nature of cinema and its relation to time and to motion.
June 25, 2007
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Deeply influenced by Alain Resnais and his themes of time, memory and death, LA JETÉE examines the status of the (mostly still and, in the film’s most famous moment, moving) image.
November 29, 2002
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One of the best of all SF films is this haunting, apocalyptic 27-minute French short by the great Chris Marker (1962) about a man sent into the future—a story that is told almost exclusvely in still frames.
October 01, 1989
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The reinsertion of the still image within European cinema was heralded in magisterial fashion by the production of Chris Marker’s La Jetée (1961). This remarkable instantiation of the catastrophic imagination projects in still images the posterity of nuclear destruction, a world in which the memory of the past is, with difficulty and in pain, by strenuous effort, only partially retrievable.
January 01, 1989
Marker uses monochrome images recognisably from the past, such as the ruins of Europe after WWII, and with a few small props and effects, subtly suggests a future environment. The soundtrack’s texture is similarly sparse, and the fluid montage leads the viewer into the sensation of watching moving images. Until, that is, an extraordinary epiphany when an image genuinely does move: the man’s sleeping lover opens her eyes.
January 01, 1980
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This familiar theme is treated with remarkable finesse and imagination, its symbols and perspectives continually reinforcing the subject matter. Not once does it make use of the time-honoured conventions of traditional science fiction. Creating its own conventions from scratch, it triumphantly succeeds where science fiction invariably fails.
January 01, 1970
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