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La Jetee (The Pier)

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General Information:
Year Released: 1962
Country: France
Director: Chris Marker

The inspiration for 12 Monkeys (1996), La Jetee (The Pier) is a mere 29 minutes in length and uses stills instead of live action to tell its story. Humanity has been forced to move underground in the wake of a global nuclear war, and time has began to lose meaning. H is chosen to be sent back in time to bring aid to the present.

The Promise of Science: Time Travel

La Jetee is a short film with many issues surrounding the action of travelling through time, including a time paradox. Time travel is central to this film's events, as the complications that result from it form its plot. Rather than focusing on technology, gadgetry and hard science, this film shows the intense mental pressures that a traveller is subject to when moving through time.

The largest problem with travelling through time is one of mental hardiness; most people simply can not do it, since it is too confusing for the brain. Travelling through time is equivical to being born again in a new time, and brings insanity to those who have not been properly conditioned. Conditioning comes through fixation on and reinforcement of strong memories, such as H's obsession with a memory from his childhood where he watched a man get shot and killed. This memory is evidence of the ultimate time paradox; when H makes his final trip back through time, he is shot and killed -- and sees himself as a child, looking on.

A time travel experiment being performed on H.

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. erika . .
. last modified: Jul 20, 2000 .