a journal of observations, obsessions and inspirations

musings on the artist's life

Posted in: Film & TV

Mind-altering, life-changing film

Image from 1989 film, La jetée showing pier extending towards horizon

“Everyone remembers the first time they saw La Jetée.”

I’m pretty sure we all remember the first time seeing this film – a perfect use of form and style merged with story and theme – and knowing that everything had changed, right then.

William Gibson articulates his moment beautifully. His comments are significant in today’s phone and selfie world where it seems people experience life only through a tiny screen, desperate to capture it on video (will they ever watch it again?) instead of letting it live, imperfectly, in memory. Connect this idea with Max Headroom, the original TV series, not the spinoff talk show.

“I saw it, yet was effectively unable to see it again. It would be over a decade before I would happen to see it again, on television, its screening a rare event. Seeing a short foreign film, then, could be the equivalent of seeing a UFO, the experience surviving only as memory. The world of cultural artefacts was only atemporal in theory then, not yet literally and instantly atemporal. Carrying the memory of that screening’s intensity for a decade after has become a touchstone for me. What would have happened had I been able to rewind?”  – William Gibson

Appropriate memory, given the subject of the film. If you haven’t seen it, watch with an open mind; if you have, probably time to see it again. You may be able to watch it on Hulu or get it through iTunes or find the Criterion DVD on amazon.