Film Review: La Jetee 1962

Figure 1. La Jetèe 

La Jetèe, a short film of which only lasts only 29 minutes was directed by Chris Marker, who is a
French writer, photographer, documentary film director, multimedia artist and film essayist. La Jetèe is made of a series of photographs that make a montage and a mans voice narrating the story over the photos. "Chris Marker was always the type of filmmaker whose work fell into the category of thoughtful and challenging, and by nature he was a much gifted storyteller." (Samuel, 2013) As Samuel explains that Makers was a gifted story teller, and I can see why. He used images and only a few sounds to create a story that pulls the audience in and is something that many have not seen before.
The photograph montage tells the story of a man in post-apocalyptic world who has chosen to under go a time travel experiment and explore one of his childhood memory's of a woman at the end of a pier.

Fig 2.  The Man (1962)
The pictures themselves were black and white with a grainy texture to them, but by this adds an extra quality too the film. It makes the photos appear darker, and gives you the sense the someone else is watching. When viewing the films photo montage, you could see that there was this contemporary element to it, even though the pictures are over 40 years old. You could still see them being in a gallery as they do give the audience a sense of feeling and emotion.
"The film achieves the feeling of movement and time lapse mainly through its editing. While Lars von Trier’s film Nymphomaniac captured the human condition in a single dissolve, La Jetee uses dissolves, fade-ins, and fade-outs to provoke the feeling of time lapse." (Filmslie, s.d) As this writer explains the editing shows a sense of time and movement through the photographs. Even though they are only photographs, by using the editing techniques like Marker did, he helped to create this emotion and mood that plays a part in the film.

Fig 3. The man and The woman

Over the course of he film, we hear the narrator and also background ground noises and some music.
The narrator has a bland voice in which can be described as monotone, the narrator didn't show any feeling or emotion, he was simply there to tell the story. In ways this can be described as soothing or boring, but it means you are concentrating on the images rather than him talking.
There is also music that plays at appropriate times which helps to set the mood or scene, an example of this is when they are underground and the music is actually quite sad. It makes the audience feel sorry for these people who have lost everything and are now living underground due to radiation. Another example of this is when the man and the woman are together its a happier and more cheerful music. This again is setting the mood for the scene and also for the story.
We also hear other sounds effects being used, like the heart beats, whispers and birds. The whispers and and heart beat would be the chilling sound effects used. Maker could of used them to make the audience feel afraid and also create this chilling atmosphere

Illustration list

Figure 1.  La Jatèe (1962) [poster] At: (Accessed on 12.01.16)

Figure 2. The man (1962) [film still] At: (Accessed on 12.01.16)

Figure 3. The man and The woman (1962) [film still] At: (Accessed on 12.01.16)


Filmslie (s.d) Chris Marker’s La Jetee Analysis: Mortality and the Illusion of Time At: (Accessed on 12.01.16)

Samuel, Patrick (2013) La Jetèe At: (Accessed on 12.01.16)


  1. Interesting review Hannah :)
    Be careful that you don't lapse into using the first person - here, for example -
    'As Samuel explains that Makers was a gifted story teller, and I can see why.'
    You could say,
    'As Samuel explains that Makers was a gifted story teller, and one can see why.'

    Looking forward to seeing what you made of 'Rope' :)


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