La Jetée

Not sure how we feel about having short films on this list, but hey who’s gonna stop me


Release date: February 16, 1962
Director: Chris Marker
Language: French

Who should watch this movie: Film nerds. Fans of the avant-garde

When should you watch this movie: I’m genuinely not sure what the right mood for experimental cinema is, I guess when you want to think really hard about what you’re seeing? 

The sell: La Jetée is an experimental sci-fi film from the 60’s told in a series of pictures overlaid with sound and narration. The story is convoluted but the presentation is markedly minimalist, given that it uses stills rather than moving images. La Jetée raises important questions about the role of movement in film – a discipline often referred to as “moving pictures.” What counts as a moving picture, and how do these pictures tell a story? It’s amazing how even a series of still images in a particular order are able to elicit deep emotions, including fear and nostalgia. Experimental film isn’t always fun to watch, but this one is. It’s also only 28 minutes long, so you can go ahead and watch The Neverending Story or something right after that.

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