La Jetee Sequence Analysis

1665 WordsDec 16, 20107 Pages
The extract that will be discussed in this analysis occurs around the middle of the film. The sequence begins soon after the protagonist has made contact with the woman from his visions. Within the sequence a simple understanding is come to between the two, he is a ‘ghost’ who will come and go and she will listen and talk, no societal conventions are present in their interactions. The sequence starts with an image of the time traveller on the bed of the experiment room, his eyes are covered. On the soundtrack the indecipherable Germanic voices of the doctors can be heard in an almost whisper. The sound here relates to the image as it fades between the subject and the girl. The voices seem to be diegetic, it is presumably what the man can hear as he slips between times. Diegetic sound is used in La Jetee but, as the images are still, in an unusual way. In the opening and closing of the film, the noise of engines and industry seem to be a reaction of the images of the airport. First viewed this long shot is easily misunderstood as a piece of film rather than a still. The sound of the airport is repeated on the return to the location at the end as the plot also comes full circle. In the middle chunk of the film sound is used in a more expressive way. The musical score intermingles with hushed whispers and soft heartbeats, furthering the confusion between past, present and reality. The decision to use the German language is of course significant. The doctor’s experiments on their subjects and the way the same subjects seem to be overseen by ‘camp guards’ is the most undeniable reference to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. The imagery of human guinea pigs undergoing experiments in concentration camps is one of the most potent in the memory of the atrocity and La Jetee taps in to this iconography. The image of the subject fades into the girl sleeping on

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