La Jetée (1962, dir. Chris Marker)
“La Jetee’s fans insist that it’s the finest science fiction film ever made, and why not? It’s truly unique, implementing a series of hundreds of unmoving pictures, beautifully edited together to tell a mind-bending story of time travel that doubles as a melancholy fable about memory, loss, childhood, and destiny. Only for a moment is there any action on screen (besides the implied action in the cuts from shot to shot), and that motion is one of the cinema’s most profound. It’s no exaggeration, finally, to say that La Jetée may represent film’s closest approach to poetry.”
-Bryant Frazer, Deep Focus
The 26-minute film, which inspired Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (1995), tells the story of post-apocalyptic, nuclear war-ravaged Paris, where underground commanders run time travel experiments on prisoners. The film can be seen here.