Movement of time in still photographs is what La Jeteé is all about. This film is far from conventional that manages to capture moments of time from the past, present and future. The slideshow-documentary effect of this film is what defined this film. There was no specific dialogue just narration with black and white still photographs but despite all of this, I still managed to get lost in it. Watching La Jeteé in this sort of way, I found myself involved in the memories and experiences of the protagonist. Compared to real motion pictures, the still photographs in this film allowed the viewers to create their own movement of what was currently happening in the photographs. These were simple photographs with simple transitions like fading in and fading out but somehow there lies a complex story about time travel.
The film begins with a picture of a family in an airport then focuses on a little boy then an image of a beautiful woman appears. Then it forwards to the present (the time of world war) where scientists are doing an experiment of time travel to change the present into better times. In this present time, you will see how low technology became and how this time looked more of like the past because it looked degraded to a less civilized world in ruin. Even their “laboratory” was like in a cave or something. The men that these scientists were using either didn’t survive the experiment or just went mad. You’ll find that there are photos of men looking dazed with wide eyes. In comparison to those watching, I personally felt like those men looking dazed wide eyes. Like I said, you get lost in the moment. So scientists needed a stronger man, one that could handle the time travelling experiment. And here we find the protagonist and looking just like a normal man. What he undergoes through his time travel is personal. I make this conclusion because it focused on his experiences and what was going on in his brain. What appeared in his time travel to the past was the beautiful woman in the beginning and you will see that they begin to build this connection. However, due to the man’s state, he leaves from time to time to travel to the future. And when he is asked by the people in the future his desire, he asks to go back to the past. And then you’ll see the picture go back to the first parts of the film in the airport and the image of the beautiful woman. I then realized that the man was the boy in the beginning. The man goes back to the past, the time of chaos. Unfortunately, as soon as he gets to the girl he is shot and that is the end of his life.
I was surprised when I saw this because it shows the complexity of time. In the airport scenes in the beginning it also showed a man getting shot. So he actually watched his own death through his childhood. This is where the goosebumps and chills rush in. And it’s weird because usually we find the climax in the middle of the film but actually we find in the ending. I like how this was done because it really leaved the viewers in shock. And despite the still photographs effect, it was still able to leave an impact on me. There was one quick motion picture shot when it was the close-up of the woman. I believe this part wanted to surprise the viewers. Because before the there was movement, it was zooming in to the picture so there was like a suspense to it. I think the whole movement was made to prove that there is some sort of realistic feel to it. But this didn’t really affect me this much.
I liked the film for how it was made because the uniqueness to it really amused me. I love how they were able to put a complex story into still photographs and still made it easier for viewers to understand. I think the combination of the narration and the photos were a great collaboration. I’d say this is one of my favorite films.