Davos Hanich and Hélène Chatelain star in LA JETÉE, directed by Chris Marker.

La jetée (1962, Chris Marker)

La jetée is better in its parts than the whole. But the whole is still a rather significant success. Marker shows all a film needs to be successful is great photography (Marker and Jean Chiabaut) and music (Trevor Duncan). It does need, it turns out, motion.

Jetée does, of course, have motion. In between the stills, time progresses. Sometimes Marker forces it, particularly with the sci-fi scenes, but other times he relaxes.

One of those relaxed scenes is wondrous. The protagonists (Davos Hanich and Hélène Chatelain) are in a museum, looking at the stuffed animals. It’s an amazing scene on its own, but then Marker starts giving the animals the close-ups. But they’re stuffed and being motionless doesn’t matter in a film made of stills.

Unfortunately, Marker’s story isn’t particularly strong. The inevitable ending should be sublime, but Marker makes it sensational.

It’s brilliantly made, but decidedly lacking.

1/3Not Recommended


Written and directed by Chris Marker; directors of photography, Jean Chiabaut and Marker; edited by Jean Ravel; produced by Anatole Dauman.

Starring Hélène Chatelain (The Woman), Davos Hanich (The Man) and Jacques Ledoux (The Experimenter); narrated by Jean Négroni.


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