La jetée

La jetée

Sans soleil

DVD - 2007 | French
Average Rating:
5
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"La jetée" was the inspiration for Terry Gilliam's film "Twelve Monkeys" and is almost entirely narrated using black and white stills. After Paris is destroyed in a third world war, the survivors are forced to retreat underground where scientists conduct strange time-travel experiments in an effort to escape to a better past or future. In "Sans soleil", an unknown woman reads the writings of a cameraman who travels the world to produce a study of "the dreams of the human race"; he is particularly attracted to the two extremes of Japan and Africa, and discusses the images that he creates with the woman.
Publisher: [United States] : Criterion Collection, [2007]
Edition: Special édition, widescreen.
ISBN: 9781934121559
193412155X
Branch Call Number: JET
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (130 min.) : sound, black and white and color ; 4 3/4 in.

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p
princeofdarkness
Oct 11, 2016

I'll make my comments on one film at a time. The first film, La jetee, is best described as an examination of the dynamics of time, history and memory, and how a person might relate these ideas to film making and film watching. The story of the film may not be as important to the understanding of the film's objective. The title of the film might best be translated by 'observation deck' (as it is in the subtitles) rather than the literal translation of 'pier/jetty'. Chris Marker may be asking his audience to look at life as if we were on an observation deck, where airplanes, or memories by extension, take off and arrive. Our lives, past, present and future, can be captured in moving or still images and are shaped by our own thoughts/narrative. I didn't find the film as indigestible as some must have done. I found it to be a thought-provoking experiment in storytelling; the actual story was a lesser consideration, at least on first viewing. I'd be pleased to leave the social commentary to those who revel in that type of dialogue.

I've just watched "Sans Soleil", & am prepared to comment. It's not often that I can characterize a relatively short film as 'epic', but this film treats the same subject as "La jetee" in a way that is somewhat epic in its scope. So much is said and shown in it that the subtitles often fail to keep pace with the French narration and the accompanying images. This indicates to me that something is fundamentally wrong with this film, regardless of whether the ideas here are insightful or the images memorable, both of which are true. I was praying for some type of cogent synthesis of ideas at the end and either I missed it or it passed out of reach. There is a point to be made out of all the themes touched upon and the sounds/images presented but the stream of consciousness that flowed past was too overwhelming. Maybe this film needs a second chance but I'm not sure if I have the will to try and decipher the code to the message.

f
Fuzzy_Wuzzy
Aug 17, 2014

This double-feature from hell consists of 2 films, both directed by French film-maker, Chris Marker. They are spaced 20 years apart (1963/1983). And they clearly showed me that in that period of time Marker didn't improve one-bit as a director. In fact, I'd say he got worse.

Feature #1 - La Jetee (1963) is a horribly dry and uninspired Sci-Fi story which takes place at the onset of WW3.

There are no spectacular images in this film. There is no dialogue, either (only narration). There is no live action. It is all just b&w stills whose images are all recycled more than once. (Thank goodness this film's running time was only 27 minutes)

La Jetee's story is neither deep nor philosophical. Although I strongly suspect that director Marker believed himself to be creating a real masterpiece of cinematic intellectualism.

Feature #2 - Sans Soleil (1983) was also a tedious bore. It was also without dialogue (only narration) and had a gruelling running time of 100 minutes.

Shot in color, this film's imagery was live-action, showing endlessly repetitive activity in urban Japan.

It's too bad that there is nothing memorable for me to say about any of this junk.

The only way I found I could endure this dismally dreary double-feature was to watch it in fast-forward mode.

n
nptphoto
Jul 15, 2013

Awful. Overrated crap.

m
ms_mustard
Jan 06, 2013

pushed me to the edges of my awareness and understanding of film. very interesting and challenging. an essay with images.

y
yumsushi
Nov 20, 2012

La jetee is definitely the most interesting of the two features. I can definitely see how it inspired 12 Monkeys. It was a little slow but the ending was great.

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