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Rooftop Cinema: La Jetée

  • Madison Museum of Contemporary Art 227 State Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

Made almost entirely of artfully composed still images that fade in and out under a steady voiceover, Chris Marker's 1962 sci-fi short La Jetée is best known as the film that inspiration Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys. Clocking in at a scant 28 minutes, La Jetée packs more of a high-concept time-travel wallop than Gilliam's Bruce Willis/Brad Pitt vehicle, and in one-quarter of the time at that. Amid the fallout of World War III, a French prisoner is subjected to trips to the past and future, in the hopes that he can gather information and supplies that will alter the catastrophic present. It's a visually stunning feature, audacious in its formal experimentation, and its ending will almost surely leave the Rooftop Cinema audience reeling. —Chris Lay