Right: Lebbeus Woods: Neomechanical Tower (upper) chamber
Left: Still from Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys
“12 Monkeys, also known as Twelve Monkeys, is a 1995 American neo-noir science fiction filmdirected by Terry Gilliam, inspired by Chris Marker‘s 1962 short film La Jetée, and starring Bruce Willis,Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt, with Christopher Plummer and David Morse in supporting roles. AfterUniversal Studios acquired the rights to remake La Jetée as a full-length film, David and Janet Peopleswere hired to write the script.”
Lebbeus Woods was an American Architect known mostly for his imaginative and seductively rendered drawings. This drawing on the right is his and was used as the inspiration of Terry Gilliam’s scene in 12 Monkeys , a feature length film based on Chris Marker’s La Jetee. Woods filled a lawsuit against Gilliam in which it was decided that the footage would be removed from the film. In the end, Woods, happy with the financial settlement, did not ask for the footage to be removed.
I think about this in terms of Marker speaking to the power of the images we recall. Cinema is an obvious device as a means to give visuals to memory – but we all know its much more complicated than that. Photography has provided the most accurate means of revisiting the visuals of a certain time – but what Marker imposes in through the narrative structure of La Jetee is the collapsibility of that construct.