La Jetée (The Pier)
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The movie that inspired Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys, Chris Marker's La jetée is a landmark of science-fiction filmmaking, a 28-minute masterpiece told almost entirely in still frames. Set in a post-apocalyptic near-future, it tells the story of an unnamed man whose vivid childhood recollections make him the perfect guinea pig for an experiment in time travel. After a lengthy and nightmarish period of conditioning, he is sent into the past, where he falls in love with a woman whom he once saw on a pier. At the experiment's conclusion, he is visited by an advanced race, who offer him… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"One of the best of all SF films is this haunting, apocalyptic 27-minute French short by the great Chris Marker."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"This is Marker's masterpiece."
‑ Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle
"One of the greatest films ever made."
‑ Phil Hall, Film Threat
"Incredibly influential, dauntingly beautiful short made up almost entirely of stills. Inspired a generation of sci-fi directors."
‑ , Film4
"It is an essential fiction, a short story whose diminutive length does little to foretell its breadth."
‑ Rumsey Taylor, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
"The soundtrack's texture is similarly sparse, and the fluid montage leads the viewer into the sensation of watching moving images. Until, that is, an extraordinary epiphany when an image genuinely does move."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"The major influence on Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys, La Jetée is made up almost entirely of still photographs that tell the futuristic story of a time traveler."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
‑ Cole Smithey,
"A remarkable and unique experimental short that consists solely of still frames, narration, music and sound effects as it relates an apocalyptic tale of memory and time-travel."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"The most haunting sci-fi film ever made."
‑ Jon Niccum, Lawrence Journal-World
"I find it tediously pretentious, but there are striking images in it, and it does get across a vague impression of Frankensteinian meddling with the brain."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"It's a stirring, emotional film about the unique hold memories have over people's lives and how experiences themselves are fleeting."
‑ Eric Melin,
"Always confounding even when it seems accessible, the mysterious and gripping plot raises unanswerable questions about time, memory and the progress of life on this planet."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Eisenstein stripped back to the studs. Powerful, haunting, unforgettable."
‑ Dan Jardine, Cinemania
"A perfect little short all shot in still images -- more haunting than its big-budget remake, 12 Monkeys"
‑ Luke Y. Thompson, New Times
More reviews for La Jetée (The Pier) on Rotten Tomatoes

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