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La Jetee

"La Jetée" (1967) is a post-apocalyptic film by Chris Marker.

La Jetee

Chris Marker: La Jetée (still)

In misty blacks and whites, La Jetée (1967) shows a world devastatingly destroyed by human intervention. After a nuclear bomb beneath the ruins of Paris, people live underground, desperately searching for images of inspiration, now lost. As a scientific experiment the dreams and images of the past are 'tapped' in drug induced sleep - the vivid images of one man in particular are followed, as he walks with a woman through the boulevards of Paris. His memory of the woman is locked in a childhood experience: will he choose for the future or the past, trapped in an unbearable present?

As far as the timetable of the memory tends to jump, reverse and mostly accelerate to the good parts, moments of past, present and future hardly seem measurable in any kind of rational sense. Fleeting impressions mix and move mysteriously, as in the film La Jetée, whereby the man who returns in time-travel to a childhood memory of a beautiful woman, finds the image is only a chimera. Physically there where he thought he had seen her face, she in fact did not exist at that particular point in time. The time image is disconnected, it runs between story and imagination, without chronological information. As Deleuze coins the term in Cinema 1: The Movement Image and Cinema 2: the Time Image, themes of the time image centre on inner mental imagery, flights of fancy and emotional psychic breakdown. This in contrast to the movement image: linked to pre World War 2 cinema, the movement image entails a whole of temporal links between shots, provoking real movement and duration. In the transition between movement image and time image, Deleuze asks many interesting questions concerning time and information. For example, how is temporality affected by the amount of narrative and/or visual information? Does less information imply a stronger sense of time? With respect to how time is perceived or felt, is there a difference in terms of the type of information given: visual vs. aural, sound vs. dialogue, color vs. black and white? In other words, does the type and rate of information given have an affective difference on aspects of time?

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