Cinema Paradoxical

Hollywood remakes of foreign films are a mixed bag, to say the least. For instance, The Magnificent Seven was an epic reimagining of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, while cinematic abortions like Point of No Return (La Femme Nikita) should’ve stayed in development hell.

When Tinsel Town transformed the 1962 French sci-fi short La Jetée into 12 Monkeys, however, they got it right. Sure, it was partly due to Terry Gilliam’s gifted direction, but also because it captured the mind-bending nature of its source material.

Like its 1995 remake, La Jetée is a twisted paradoxical tale of a man sent back through time from an apocalyptic future to present day, only be murdered in front of his younger self. Unlike its big-budget counterpart, the plot unfolds through narration told over a series of black-and-white still photos in a very French New Wave style of storytelling.

Wed., June 15, 7 p.m., 2011
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.