Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sci Fi Top 100, #28: "La Jetée" (1962)

Movie Stats:
Released 1962 (France)
French, in French (significant non-translated German; the particular version I watched was dubbed into English, but even then the German wasn’t translated)
Director - Chris Marker
Stars - James Kirk

Plot Summary:
The survivors of WWIII attempt to ensure their future through the use of time travel. Kirk is the English-language narrator (in the original French it’s Jean Negroni). Other than the narration and the non-translated German whispers, there is no dialogue and there is no acting.

Female nudity in the form of artwork.

Bad Stuff:
I saw “the twist” coming very early in the film.

The way it plays out is kind of silly. [SPOILERS] They send him back in time in order to get supplies to help them survive but instead he romances a woman whose face he saw once as a child. So then they send him into the future where he finds out the human race survived without his help anyway. [SPOILERS] Seemed a bit pointless.

Good Stuff:
It’s quite experimental, in a way I think I liked. The whole time, I couldn’t help thinking about how quintessentially French it felt, like the very definition of 1960s French cinema.

Although I didn’t care for the way it played out, I liked the idea of it. Inventing time travel seems a clever way to solve a thorny problem. Personally, I think I would use it to try to stop WWIII, but whatever.

It’s nice and short.

The Verdict:
This is definitely one of the more unusual entries to the list. It’s not a film in the strictest sense. It’s a series of still photos tied together by narration. At only half an hour, it’s pretty short, but I think that was the right idea. Any longer and it just would’ve been irritating. As it was, I got a trifle bored, because nothing much happens. However, overall, I would say that the uniqueness of it made it intriguing. I understand how it found its way onto the list.

I give it 3.5 stars.


Patricia said...

James Kirk, like James Tiberius Kirk? Coincidence, or connection?

Is this famous? I'm curious how a 30 minute French film was ranked so high.

Patricia said...

Also your words between the spoiler marks made me laugh.

balyien said...

A coincidence, I think. Narrating this film is the only thing on his IMDB page.

I doubt that this is famous in a traditional sense. I'd never heard of it before. Whenever something perplexing like this is on the list, I remind myself that it was compiled by taking a poll of people involved in the sci fi film industry (writers, directors, producers, actors, etc.). Therefore, it's probably well known to insiders and film buffs, but not to us regular folk.

When I told Dan the spoiler bit, he put on a no-doubt offensive French accent and said, "But of course, ze French film iz about love." LOL.