These two films revolved around one of my most favorite of topics or rather plot schemes, time travel. To begin with La Jetée, what surprised me right from the start was the obvious use of still photos to tell the story. Both unique and creative, it was a very intriguing way to go about directing a film as it would immediately capture the attention of its viewers. As to why the director would choose to use still frames, I personally feel it is because it adds to the dramatic effect that this film is all about. With the shocking twist by the film’s end, that the man was actually witnessing his own death as a child, the use of still photographs works well in capturing those moments. As if telling the story in the form of a documentary almost, with the dialogue serving as the voice over for each still frame, it only can add to the dramatic feel of the plot.
The still frames also capture the emotion of each of the films important moments, such as the pain and agony that these test subjects feel during the experiments, or the love that the man feels for the memory of woman he saw in his past. Quite literally a motion picture, La Jetée although may be captivating for its story and plot twists, it is unforgettable for its methodic use of still frames.
Moving onto Primer, I personally really enjoyed this film. It was fantastic, albeit way too confusing for it’s own good, it has perhaps grown notorious for that reason alone. Taking the use of scientific lingo to a whole new level, it’s become commonplace for many first time viewers to despise the film simply for that reason alone, that they just don’t understand the dialogue. However, if one were to look past that, they would find that Primer is an amazing well thought out journey through time and back.
What I really loved about this film was its ability to make the audience think for themselves. It brought about many questions, and although it may not answer them all, it left room for personal interpretation. It didn’t spoon feed the audience which is something I’ve come to appreciate from films that do so, it lets them find out for themselves that this movie is about time travel. I personally found it exciting when the two characters of Aaron and Abe are realizing just what exactly they have stumbled upon in their garage, very subtly it shows the development and growth of these two characters when faced with such power.
My favorite scene in the film was when Abe brings Aaron to a field and tells him to be calm and watch what is about to happen, what transpires is Aaron witnessing Abe’s “double” walking into a building. It’s moments like this why I love the film so much, so subtle and effortless, the film becomes very eerie and almost horror or thriller-like. “What was that? Was that Abe?!” were what I was thinking when Aaron saw Abe’s double, and it was then when it clarified for me that this film was indeed about time travel.
The only downfall to this film, as mentioned before, would be the in depth use of scientific words and phrases that the average movie-goer would cringe at, however what makes it all the more amazing is that every bit of their dialogue is indeed scientifically accurate, no to the point that time travel is made plausible but more to the extent that everything is connected on a scientific level and isn’t complete fiction. Because of that, it leaves one to wonder and really question the possibility of time travel.