- Actors: Étienne Becker, Florence Delay, Arielle Dombasle, Riyoko Ikeda, Charlotte Kerr
- Directors: Chris Marker
- Format: PAL
- Subtitles: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 15
- Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment
- DVD Release Date: 22 Aug. 2011
- Run Time: 129 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00525QHCI
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,386 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
La Jetee / Sans Soleil [DVD] 
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La Jetee depicts the story of a slave sent back and forth through time to try and find a solution to the issues inflicting the population of post-World War III Paris. Chris Marker brings his visionary touch, combining still images, graphic sequences and live action to portray a beautiful yet tragic story.
A narrated journey through the thoughts, pictures and memories of a young female woman’s travels taking in Japan, Iceland and San Francisco. Visionary director Chris Marker bring this story to life with stunning backdrops and beautiful landscapes.
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Top customer reviews
La Jetee sits ostensibly in the genre called science fiction but, stripped of the technology, it is really a meditation on love and time, lost and regained. I have a sense of deja vue that the following sentence is a precis of something I once read somewhere in the past: Monty Python has a famous sketch in which contestants attempted to summarise Proust in a sentence and failed miserably. Marker has distilled 'A la recherche du temps perdu', stripping it of its detail - period, society and homosexuality - in an analysis and love letter to Proust , creating a complex poem that is probably unique in cinema. When people mention "the poetic" in film, they invariably mean a lyrical, soft focus, romantic quality (which this certainly has,minus the soft focus), but this has the genuine poetic qualities of depth, concision and precision of language of the genuine poem.
I don't have the space, time, energy or ability to comment in detail on the equally brilliant 'Sans Soleil', except to say that it contains a two and a half minute analysis and appreciation of Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' that is the most concise, perceptive and moving film criticism that I have ever read or seen.
But one day the doctor sends him to the exact time of his recollection and he discovers that the child he was actually saw his own arrival there and his getting shot on the spot. You can then more or less, according to your morbidity, reflect on the meaning of this event: an outsider from the future arrives and is killed on the spot. Not bad at all. But worse indeed is the fact that we must have reached the sixth dimension since time works in both directions simultaneously and space is no longer in anyway two-dimensional and aging. Is that relativity the result of the fact we can look at any space and time from different points of view? The answer has to be positive of course. Post-modernism is the law. The present contains the future and is the future of the past it contains too.
The second film is the illustration of the letters of some traveler who travels a lot in Japan, some in Australia and from time to time in Africa, Guinea Bissau precisely. It is a film on rites and rituals having to do with life and death, trying to accommodate death so that we can survive a little bit more than expected. Life is always a survival and not an end in itself. This is very Buddhist but the filmmaker is trying to make it general.
The interest then when he speaks of the guerrilla warfare in Guinea Bissau is not the communist guerrilla warfare itself that will eventually turn socialist and then realist, but in fact the side remark that in Europe it brought the Portuguese fascist dictatorship down but that it also made the Europeans suddenly dream of a new revolution. It sure was a revolution (dedicated to carnations) in Portugal and then there was the post-Franco era in Spain, but the revolution was a dream in the corner of a narrow-minded communist leader in Portugal and very fast things went back to the democratic order and the soldiers went back to their barracks and let elections decide on who will be governing the country.
This is the real discourse of this second film, emphasized by the killing of a giraffe whose objective was nothing but the final and lethal bullet in its head since the repast, the banquet, the feast will be for a band of vultures. The discourse becomes general then. Life is always the result of death. Something has to die for something else to live, but if you try to force this historical movement, you produce quite a lot more death than life and anyway the vultures will come and put things back in place. It is the vision of Buddhist rites, prayers and meditation in parallel with the tranquil walk of some emus that represent the natural course of history and we do not have the right to get out of the lane: dangerous and useless.
The allusion to Hitchcock's film Vertigo is typical: the prey is in fact attracting the predator and the prey knows she/he is doing that, even if the chauvinistic predator considers he/she leads the game, from behind mind you as if the prey were on a leash, but when a farmer takes a pig to the market with a rope around its neck, who leads who? The farmer or the pig?
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
"La Jetée" is in large part autobiographical, while exploring time travel and the reduction of life to frozen moments of time. It would be the basis for Terry Gilliam's "Twelve Monkeys". In a post-apocalyptic Paris, the survivors are driven underground where they experiment with time travel in order to save themselves. Told in a voice-over as you watch black and white stills flash before your eyes, the tale is at once riveting and disturbing. Your concentration shifts between audio and visual narrative, so it may be a film you need to watch two or three times to really experience it.
The film views like an animated tour through a picture gallery ... or a graphic novel. Only, you move at Marker's pace - you cannot dictate your own, you cannot stop to admire, you are driven relentlessly on. "La Jetée" alludes to Hitchcock's "Vertigo" - it makes reference to the tree rings scene - time here appearing as both circular and bounded, as a line to follow or a line to step across. You are forced to follow the rhythm and line of the moving film by stepping from still image to still image.
"Sans Soleil" continues the theme of time travel, again alluding to "Vertigo", with its concept of video postcards and letters being sent by some fictional traveller. Here Marker interweaves his own moving and still images with those of others. Again, Marker is combining a visual and an audio narrative, but this time with greater complexity and dynamism. It can be an exhausting watch/listen as you try to follow the momentum of sound and vision. Again, it's a film you have to go back to and watch again and again.
Marker presents some astonishing images of conflict and ritual, emphasising that not remembering is not the same as forgetting. Images get imprinted on your brain. Many you may not remember. Some you will forget. But the forgotten can be re-awoken.
He delivers graphic images of resistance and political struggle - including synthesised footage of the police/student confrontations in Japan in the 1960's. He flits from Japan to Iceland, to guerrilla struggles in Guinea-Bissau, to the hideous vision of a giraffe being shot, its death struggle played out in full, dying colour. He looks at ritual and superstition, at a temple for cats which is populated by regiments of porcelain feline caricatures.
Marker's is a commentary on youth as well as on politics, on how we acquire identity and how society enforces it, on how we perceive knowledge - does our society condemn us to predestined knowledge and understanding, or can we have freewill to discover what we know and learn for ourselves rather than be taught? We are not able to create our own language - we are indoctrinated into the one prevalent in our society - so how can we claim that our thoughts, our visions, our values are our own and not something constructed for us by society?
Marker demonstrates that the camera can look at the world in a way in which the human eye cannot. He produces pictures of the extraordinary and the mundane. But, again, he controls the pace. You are driven relentlessly along - maybe forgetting some of what has been shown, maybe simply not remembering because you were concentrating on the dialogue?
Marker echoes the pace of modern life and its depersonalisation - you see exactly the same images as everyone else watching this film, yet which ones will impress you? What will these images mean, to you? Memory is your own opportunity to reconstruct the pace of time and to juxtapose image against emotion and the unique of your inner world.
These two films demand intense concentration. They are hardly a relaxed watch. But Marker poses questions highly relevant to anyone with an interest in the modern world and human consciousness, never mind anyone interested in making or taking films. The DVD offers some entertaining and informative extras which enhance you enjoyment of the main features, and the two works complement one another neatly. A demanding but highly rewarding coupling.