La Jetée

by Chris Marker


New York: Urzone, Inc./Zone Books, 1992. First edition. Oblong 8vo (20x25cm), original black cloth with golden-lettered spine, in dust jacket. 256pp. Text bilingual in French/English. Dust jacket with a touch of edge wear and a tiny closed tear (3mm) on top edge of front cover. Graffiti signiture of previous owner at hidden inner face of dust jacket. Barely visible graffiti signiture at front and rear pastedown (black pen on black pastedown), and impressum (not affecting the text). Overall near fine.

Chris Marker’s groundbreaking post- apocalyptic time-travel film La Jetée was released nearly 60 years ago and still continues to inspire artist from all different fields. Marker himself was inspired by Hitchcock’s Vertigo and The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, both dealing with time, memory and consciousness. What makes La Jetée so influential is not only its spiraling time travel narrative, but also its composition of still photographic images that builds a film by breaking its most basic rule – the moving image.

This is the genuine, scarce first edition from 1992 by Zone Books and not what is very creatively stated as the first edition elsewhere.

The award-winning graphic designer Bruce Mau, who was also the creative director of Zone Books and i-D. Magazine, tried six years to convince Chris Marker to translate the film into a book, and only for La Jetée’s thirtieth anniversary in 1992, it was finally published by Zone Books as “ciné-roman”. Chris Marker‘s written response to the book dummy that Mau had sent him was in turn used by Bruce Mau as the blurb for the book:

“This book version of La Jetée is, to my mind, astonishingly beautiful. It brings a total freshness to the work and a new way to use photos to deal with dramatic events. Not a film’s book, but a book in its own right–the real ciné-roman announced in the film’s credits.”

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