La Jetée: The Inspiraton for 12 Monkeys (and Probably The Terminator)

Illustration for article titled La Jetée: The Inspiraton for 12 Monkeys (and Probably The Terminator)

Who would ever figure that a 28 minute film, comprised entirely of black and white still shots and voiceover narration, would go on to serve as the foundation for a major hollywood production? In the case of Chris Marker's 1962 work La Jetée, it most likely inspired two.

La Jetée is, at its core, a story about time and change. A man lives through a catastrophic war in which everyone is forced to live underground, and through the magic of science, the same man, now a prisoner, is picked to travel back in time to try and prevent the decline of the world. From there the protagonist begins his quest. Terry Gilliam has been very explicit that he borrowed heavily from La Jetée's story line in making the film 12 Monkeys and many a film critic suspects that James Cameron also borrowed from the story in making The Terminator. Heavy as it may be, it's short and sweet. Check it out on Hulu Plus now. [Hulu]

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Stephen King also wrote a short story that he said he plaigarized "La Jetee" for. I think it's called "The Jaunt" about the invention of a Star Trek-like transporter system, but you have to be knocked unconscious before you go through it because the mind intreprets the near-instant travel as near-eternity.