From a philosophical point of view, La Jetee is an existentialist tale of doomed existence, inevitability, and predetermined death. And what better way to express this idea than by using lifeless photographs to tell the story of a life that is only perceived as such? If the main character is trapped in a time loop and sees his death as a child, what reasons does he have to believe he has actually existed?
Lasting 29 minutes, shot in black and white and consisting almost entirely of still photographs – imaginatively blended with dissolves, wipes and fades – this is the bare bones of science fiction. It highlights why we are attracted to SF in the first place: not for bug-eyed aliens or galaxy-hopping spaceships, but for the way in which the form can twist our most cherished versions of reality inside out. This, then, is the subject matter of La Jetée, a minimalist masterpiece affording us an all-too-rare glimpse at the paradoxes and complexities of perception and the subconscious. ----Simon Sellars • Oct 7th, 2005