Wednesday, February 14, 2007

La Jetée: A clouded view from the observation deck

In the odd and somewhat creepy movie “La Jetée” many elements of time travel and the enslavement of human freedom through technology was presented. The film’s structure through moving through still shots represents an important part of how humans tend to structure their thoughts and imaginations. Most of us usually see our memories as photos in our mind, rather than a video of our memories, and “La Jetée” seems to take into account how the human mind works. One frequent image in the initial parts of the film is the evil looking scientist with his dark eye goggles. This seems as the filmmaker intends to show a representation of how technology has become an invasive all-seeing eye, as in big brother from Orwell’s 1984. The metaphor seems to continue as this evil scientist conducts inhumane experiments on people as he scopes into the dreams and memories of humans that seem to make them turn insane. The filmmaker also seems to be making many suggestions to future generations as to be watchful of the growing technology, as it eventually seems to destroy humanity, as it did with all of Paris in the film. One striking shot from the destruction of Paris is the destroyed Arc de Triomphe, which is shown broken in two. This represents how such magnificent edifices of older years where Napoleon created a new French society seem to be destroyed by the age of modernity. Beyond the destruction of humanity by technology, one striking scene stands as an important contrast to the entire film. There is one scene where the girl is shown breathing, with her mouth and chest slowly moving, and it is the only part of the entire film where video is used instead of still shots. The girl breathing is an important symbol throughout the entire film as it represents an action so pure and free from any bounds of society or modernity that it is free from the bounds of still frames and moves vividly in video. The filmmaker sees the girl as a symbol of purity and she also is shown in plain clothes, again, representing this purity and freedom from society. Also another striking shot is where the people of the future are shown as having a third eye, often a symbol of all seeing power. In many cultures the third eye represents the soul or an organ that possess the power to look deeper into humans and peer into their soul, and this symbol carries onto the images of people from the future. Additionally, humans today are showed as blind to certain spiritual elements, as the man is shown with dark glasses that seem to prohibit him from seeing things that these advanced creatures can. Ultimately, the beings from the future are able to see what the man could not; his ultimate death from the same evil-looking scientist at the Orly airport beside the woman he thought would be his savior.



Blogger Ifan Wei said...

I like the ideas you brought up about vision. In discussing the motif of the eyes in an earlier response, I forgot about the beings from the future that had the 3rd eye. Also, the "mad scientist" character has very peculiar glasses. I just wanted to add to the evidence you already brought up. The time machine is an appartus that covers your eyes. Perhaps, this relates to the fact that the audio is fluid while the images are stagnant. At first, the contrast between the stagnant images and dynamic audio are easily reconciled. However, upon further viewing, this difference can also be irritating and cause anxiety. The still images seem much more frozen and still with an audio track that flows as if the images were moving. Perhaps, the images that seem to show the eyes being covered or arrested is related to this.

2/25/2007 10:27 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home