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Most fans of Terry Gilliam’s $29 million Twelve Monkeys probably haven’t seen the low-budget 1962 short on which it’s based, Chris Marker’s La Jetee. But Marker’s film, presented almost exclusively as a slide-show-like series of still black-and-white images, is every bit as compelling as Gilliam’s more lavish and action-packed version. Alternating between gritty artiness and vacation-snap mundanity, Marker’s tableaux unfold a tale of world war, time travel, and the loss of childhood innocence. La Jetee’s best images are elegant and memorable: the sky above a rubble-filled Paris filled with sinister glowing clouds; triple-eyed visitors from the future, surrounded by chains of shimmering lights; the film’s protagonist, wearing a Santo T-shirt and paint-spattered jeans, murdered at Orly Airport as his younger self watches. A classic of cerebral science fiction, the 29-minute film is spare, lyrical, and haunting. It’s screened with Charles and Ray Eames’ The Expanding Airport and Charles C. Coleman’s Criminals of the Air at 7 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Pickford Theater, 1st & Independence Avenue SE. Free. For reservations call (202) 707-5677. (Leonard Roberge)