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12,063 Ratings

La jetée

Directed by Chris Marker
France, 1962
Romance, Sci-Fi, Short


Post-World War III, Paris lies in ruins. A scientist researching time travel hopes to send subjects to various time periods, and finds a suitable subject in a prisoner with a vivid pre-war childhood memory. The prisoner travels in time, and comes to understand the incident he witnessed as a child.

Our take

Chris Marker’s game-changing photo-roman is storytelling pared all the way back, an inventive distillation of cinema that demands you lean in to the image and inspect every frame. A recursive and sorrowful stream of fragments and memories, sci-fi sans SFX!

La jetée Directed by Chris Marker
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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