La Jetée (The Pier) is a 1962 black and white French science fiction short film. Set in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity has been forced underground due to the aftermath of World War Three and faces extinction from lack of resources, it details a series of time-travel experiments that a prisoner is subjected to in the hopes of being able to acquire aid to help with humanity's present situation.The film is notable for being shot almost entirely as a series of still images, with no dialogue other than some mumbled German.The later, more mainstream film, 12 Monkeys, was inspired by La Jetée, and lifts several concepts directly from the older film, including a prisoner being sent back in time to help with an apocalyptic future.
This film provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: The experimenter probably qualifies.
- Apocalypse How: Class 4.
- Applied Phlebotinum: Time travel works by apparently putting little masks with strings or wires over your eyes.
- Bittersweet Ending: The protagonist succeeds in convincing the people of the future to help humanity in the past, and is even rescued by them after the regime opts to have him executed. Instead of traveling with them into the nigh-impermeable future, he heads into the past instead to be with the girl, leaving him open to the regime's attempt to kill him and set up a stable time loop. In short, humanity is saved with the promise of a good future, but the protagonist dies in the process.
- Crystal Spires and Togas: The protagonist glimpses a version of this when he is sent into the future.
- Heartbeat Soundtrack
- Just Before the End
- No Name Given: None of the characters have actual names.
- Ominous Russian Chanting
- Photo Montage: The entire film is made up of still photos, with panning effects to imply motion. Except for one scene (a literal "blink and you'll miss it") where a series of photos show The Woman opening her eyes.
- Stable Time Loop: Enforced twice: With the time traveler convincing the people of the future to help the people of the past survive, and with the jailer killing him to create the memory that made it possible for him to travel in time in the first place.
- You Already Changed the Past
- You Can't Fight Fate: The man's love for the girl ultimately gets him killed.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness