Sunday, February 13, 2011

La Jetee

I'm not even going to begin claiming I'm the film reviewer that Daryl is. I love film as much as he does, but I don't write about it well.

That said, I cannot say strongly enough how completely blown away I was by Chris Marker's La Jetee. This 1962 short film (28 minutes) is probably the best science fiction film I've ever seen. Admittedly, this is not my favorite genre, but I can be awed by films that shy away from monsters and stupid special effects and think hard about presenting intelligent versions of a dystopian future. Marker's film, about a single individual in post-apocalyptic Paris, follows the story of a man used for time traveling experiments that discovers the woman he was in love with in the past. Shot entirely in still photography with narration with the exception of a single powerful scene, it's hard to imagine a film with greater emotional power.

La Jetee is available for streaming on Netflix, which is how I saw it. 

Moreover, La Jetee is a reminder of how much we filmgoers miss out on in a world without short films. Not every film needs to be 90 minutes, not to mention 135. Sometimes a story needs 30 minutes and no more. And that's great. The Oscar nominated shorts are the only shorts that receive any distribution, but like other Oscar nominees, there's little reason to believe that they are really the best in the genre.