Remedial Reading: La Jetee (Chris Marker, 1962)

Brian Dillon on the enigmas within Chris Marker’s La Jetee. It would have been useful if he noted somewhere that the film is (almost) entirely composed of photographs:

“It’s here, before the prisoner is abruptly recalled to the future, that La Jetée conjures its most haunting images. The man and woman perform a heartbreaking choreography of discovery and loss, becoming sci-fi avatars of the petrified figures on Keats’s “Grecian Urn”. He leans immobile over her face in sunlight, they stroll among static children in the Jardin des Plantes and halt suddenly before the “wall” of their impossible future. In the work’s most extraordinary moment – at screenings, the critic Janet Harbord says in her recent book on the film, there is always “a collective bodily intake of breath” – the sleeping woman opens her eyes and the film moves for the first time, before a sudden jump-cut to the frozen and desolate time to come.”

Mr. Dillon has contacted us himself to point out that, in fact, he wrote “a film made almost entirely of still photographs” in his very first sentence. We’d like to extend our sincerest apologies for the error.

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2 Responses to “Remedial Reading: La Jetee (Chris Marker, 1962)”

  1. Brian Dillon Says:

    “Remedial”, eh? I think you’ll find I state that the film is almost entirely made of still photos IN THE FIRST SENTENCE OF THE PIECE. I’d be grateful if you’d revise this post as it makes me look like I’m the one who hasn’t been paying attention.

    Best wishes,

    Brian Dillon.

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