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The Meaning Of Time In Chris Marker's La Jetee

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Chris Marker’s 1962 film, La Jetée is a classic apocalyptic time travel story about a man who is transported by the strength of a vivid memory to the past where he can prevent world destruction. La Jetée primarily uses still frames to convey its meaning of destiny and its ties with time. Marker’s use of imagery, editing, and sounds effectively brings insight to this bleak universe he created and a man’s plight into depths of time. La Jetée opens with a man who's struck with a strong memory of a mysterious woman of his childhood the day he saw a man get killed. Years later, the unnamed man is a prisoner of war in a nuclear fallout devastated Paris. Experimentalists who held the man captive aimed “to send emissaries into Time, to summon the Past and Future to the aid of the Present” (line 16). As the man had vivid memories of a particular woman from the past, the scientists chose him to partake in a series of painful tests to successfully conduct time travel. The majority of the film focuses on the man’s journey into the past and the time he spends getting to know the woman from his memory while simultaneously getting pulled back into the present. On the fiftieth day, they meet in a museum of “timeless animals,” the man spends the day perusing the museum with the woman, unaware that this would be his final time in the past. The scientists soon ship the man into the future where he finds himself in an unfamiliar Paris, meeting the people of the future. They initially reject
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