La Jetée

© La Jetée (Chris Marker, 1962)

La Jetée

A milestone in film history, this short by French writer, photographer and filmmaker Chris Marker, who is sometimes referred to as the creator of the film essay. Marker, about whose private life little is known, was part of the leftist collective of the French New Wave, which included filmmakers such as Alain Resnais and Agnès Varda.

The science fiction film La Jetée is about a post-nuclear war time travel experiment, told almost entirely through a montage of still photographs. There are several theories about the correct reading of the film, which regularly appears in best films of all time lists, probably all are somewhat correct. A formalist experiment on the one hand, an atmospheric fable on the other.

The film is part of a programme about Fugutive Cinema which, from its inception in 1966, provided an alternative route in the Belgian film scene. Several films in Fugitive Cinema's distribution catalogue also link social commitment to formal innovation and experimentation, as does the work of Chris Marker.

The programme came about within the framework of the Film Research Seminar within the Master's Degree in Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Antwerp. The films will be introduced by Steven Jacobs, film and art historian at the University of Antwerp and the University of Ghent.