So this week we had a viewing of a film from the French New Wave called “La Jetee” by Chris Marker. It was a quite unusual to what we have been presented up until now, so I decided to add my own brief synopsis of the story of the film:
We follow the journey of a man who is forced into taking part in scientific experiments that are done with the intention of manipulating time traveling to their own will. This experiment has been already implemented on other captive individuals as well but with not so fortune outcomes for them. But when this man is put under the experiment it is shown that he is actually the only one who can survive it for the length that he has. So it is during this trial that whenever he is “put under”, so to speak, he begins to be captivated by a blonde beauty and whenever he slips into the unconsciousness, he always travels to see her (intentionally or not) and eventually falls in love with her. These experiments happen during a period of if not weeks, months and they only help to establish his personal desire to actually be with her always and not only during brief flashes of time. It is a beautifully tragic love story told by the means of black and white still images, almost like a slideshow, with a compelling voice-over to navigate the audience through what is being presented to them.
It is quite intriguing to see the evolution of film making, because in this film you can see how the storyteller was able to work with the idea of “time traveling” and work it to his will. I think it was well accomplished in that sense.
Now to simply answer the question that was presented to us in class:
- How does the film reflect on film form? It is reflected, as I previously mentioned, through the use of still images and voice-over, primarily. But it also is presented to us through the use of the soundtrack because it appeals the audience to feel a certain specific emotion during specific parts of the storytelling (ex: a lyrical choir singing at the beginning when the pictures of a burning Paris is shown and the soft tones when the pictures of the woman are shown.)
This film is an example of how directors where during this New Wave of cinema. They wanted to make films for the simple pleasure of doing something beautiful and that was appreciated as it should, as an art form. They didn’t want to have to follow the “rules” of the Old Hollywood type of industry who made films to appeal to the masses without even thinking twice about how compelling the actual narrative should be. Although, I don’t completely agree with this saying, because even there were quite a few films only done to impress audiences visually that no significant back story to them (ex: Bus Stop, 1956) I do think that quite a few of the Old Hollywood films had a sort of poetics and beauty about them that wasn’t solely based on visuals ( ex: Gone With the Wind, 1949). I inspired myself from this site about the French New Wave for beginners. Anyways, these filmmakers intended to follow their own rules and to let their creative juices flow. So from what I’ve gathered, Italy’s neo realism and France’s New Wave were basically the one’s who rebelled against their own industries and funded their own.
To me, that’s pretty baddass.