Lecture 9: Photography and the ‘big screen’

Digital technology has changed the way we look at the still image, we can easily switch between photo and video, even on our phones.

News- still and moving image.

Video of empty room – same as still image.

Time, memory, how cameras articulate time. Archival technology- any point of history available instantly. Cultural, collective memory/identity.

Chris Marker- film essays

Subjects – place, ideas such as the future. Unravelling of things.

Creates them mostly on his own – created around 60.

Sunless – one of his most popular films – especially for photographers. Is about letter, a poetic reflection of how images are made.

La Jetée – we watched this film during the lecture, which was 29 minutes long. Marker believes that a film should be as long as it needs to be. This one is too short to be a full length film and too long to be a short film.

La Jetée discusses the fragility of memory and was made using an SLR camera, throughout the film there’s only one section with moving image, the rest are still images which have been filmed.

The film is available on DVD.

A critics poll of the best films shows almost all films which are to do with memory.

Number one film is Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo which was part of Markers inspiration for La Jetée, which was last on the list.

Both of these films were ahead of their time, in a time when you’d only be able to see films in the cinema and then you wouldn’t be able to see them again, both Hitchcock and Marker made films which need to be watched more than once. Each watch is different, you will notice something different each time.

La Jetée has an orchestral soundtrack, in the credits the film is called a photo story.

In Europe and South America films came with publications with them, they were cheap and came as souvenirs. This could be seen as a point of reference for La Jetée and does have a page based version.

Now films are their own souvenirs because of how we can watch them repeatedly.

Bruce Mao created a book version of the film and Marker sent him the images for it.

William Klein is in the photo story and also was the English voice over for La Jetée.


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