Chris Marker’s Masterwork, La Jetee

This is the original version by Chris Marker. If you are English-speaking like myself, please turn on the caption (cc) button on YouTube to see it with a subtitles. My apologies for the captions being so high, this is the best version I could locate on YouTube.  If you would like to purchase La Jette (which I am sure has better placed subtitles!)  this classic black and white short  is available through Criterion on Blue Ray and DVD.

The experience of seeing La Jetee as a film was a riveting experience when I first screened it as a young film school student at Cal Arts. As a middle-class kid from Ohio, I was blown away by the almost complete usage of stills inside a movie to tell a story. It was  a remarkable experience.

This  was  a shorts class moderated by Terry Sanders  who at 80  runs the American Film Foundation . Terry screened the first shorts of many established film makers including Roman Polanski’ s Two Men and a Wardrobe and  Francois Truffaut’s  Les Mistons.

In the class Terry also showed us  the remarkable and haunting french film, Occurence At Owl Creek Bridge which won the 1962 Academy Award for best short.

The short is a remarkable art form. It is a special way to tell a story. Every time in “Maker Culture” we complete a digital piece and post it on YouTube or Vimeo, we are giving the world a new frame from which to view life.

Sometimes we forget that.

Chris Marker, a film essayist, and an eccentric and brilliant film maker died yesterday, July 29, 2012. He was 91 years old. Film crumbles but I hope La Jette is preserved always for generations to come.

I would encourage any scholar of the short to also study the first shorts of auteurs like Polanksi, Truffaut, and more contemporary auteurs including Lucas, Spielberg, and Scorsese.

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