The Architecture of Chris Marker's La Jetée

Lebbeus Woods on Marker's 1962 sci-fi film
A still from Chris Marker's La Jetée
Lebbeus Woods on Chris Marker's La Jetée (link via Ballardian): 'Speaking of masterpieces, the 1962 science fiction film, La Jetée, by Chris Marker, ranks very near the top in films, inviting comparison with early classics such as Nosferatu and Faust, as well later tours de force like Beauty and the Beast and Alphaville, even though it is only twenty-eight minutes long. Without question, it puts to shame contemporary films of its genre snd most especially its re-make, Twelve Monkeys, which had an all-star cast, a vastly bigger budget and the slickest special effects money can buy. How could this be, given La Jetée’s black and white format and the fact that it is made entirely (almost) from still photographs? Its actors are little known and anyway we never hear them speak, instead hearing only music and a narrator’s voice superimposed on the still images. The story is rather conventional, a tale from a post-World War Three world, in which the hero must travel into the past and the future in search of energy sources and food for a ruined, radioactive city. And yes, there is a man-woman love interest that, in Romeo and Juliet style, is in the end tragically thwarted by fate. How did Marker turn such mundane ingredients into a masterpiece, a work of art of the highest order? The answer, I believe, is of value to artists in every medium, including the stubbornly resistant-to-art field of architecture.' [Read More]

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