Genre Grandeur – La Jetée (1962) – Rhyme and Reason

Clock in motion

For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Time Travel Movies, here’s a review of La Jetée (1962) by SG Liput of Rhyme and Reason

Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Abbi of  We will be reviewing our favorite Alternate Love Story movies. In order to get a better idea as to what this genre might include, check out this post by Abbi from last year. Please get me your submissions by the 25th of November by sending them to  Try to think out of the box! Great choice Abbi!

Let’s see what SG thought of this movie:


1La Jetée (1962)




Through the depths of memory,

To the face he still can see,

To the past where he is free,

He has the chance at last to flee.


Can one flee from what’s been done,

All the pain of war or gun?

Either way the clock is spun,

None can hope to truly run.




MPAA rating: Not rated (PG for some nude sculptures)


In trying to think outside the box for this month’s Genre Grandeur, I came upon a short French film called La Jetée (or The Jetty) which is apparently far more influential than I’d expected. The closest thing to an experimental film that I’ve seen, this time travel tale is composed almost entirely of black-and-white still photographs, pieced together with an explanatory narration.

The basic plot is simple enough: After World War III, a prisoner is experimented on and succeeds in temporarily shifting into the past, thanks to a traumatic memory from his childhood. This memory helps him retain his sanity, and with each trip back, he connects with an unnamed woman from his memory. Though some of the images are repeated too often, each still has an artistic touch behind it, whether it be a mere photograph of an airport or the grim faces of the man’s torturers. In combining these pictures in sequence, the filmmakers attempted to render the vivid fragments that make up our most indelible memories.

The actual means of time travel is almost non-existent, with repeated shots of needles and the man’s anguished face, his eyes covered with some kind of white pads. Even so, the key paradox of the film directly inspired Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys in 1995, and the instances of the man jumping in and out of his romance is said to have influenced The Time Traveler’s Wife as well. Some of the imagery also seemed familiar, and one shot of four heads in the dark reminded me of the music video for Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The film overall isn’t as engaging as it might have been if it had been shot in a normal manner, but at about 28 minutes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Unique and influential, this international classic mirrored its main character in leaving an unexpected impression on generations to come.


Best line: (the narrator) “Nothing tells memories from ordinary moments. Only afterwards do they claim remembrance, on account of their scars.”


Rank: Honorable Mention


© 2015 S. G. Liput

4 thoughts on “Genre Grandeur – La Jetée (1962) – Rhyme and Reason

  1. Pingback: Genre Grandeur October Finale – Back to the Future (1985) – MovieRob & @moviereview365(Encore Review 2) |

  2. Yes! I never expected this to get reviewed in the community! I love it. I saw this forever ago. I love it when there are images in quick succession, suggesting movement. This headtrip is a must see for inspiring cinematographers and visual storytellers. 12 Monkeys was an inspired remake, probably one of the better adaptations ever, up there with Scarface and The Thing… Hey, I love art alongside pop and bmovies 😉

    Thanks for this amazing review and shining the spotlight on something obscure.


Let me Know what you think!!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.