Tag Archives: memory

Review: Memento (2000, minimal spoilers) 6/10

Definitely a 90s film..

Really interesting concept, exploring the life of a man with short term memory loss who is questing after the man who raped and killed his wife. The form of the film is specifically designed to give you a similar feeling of anonymity and disorientation to Lenny, the protagonist. You are investigating and connecting facts just as he is, but they’re not the same facts. You realise that you are investigating Lenny, not the murder of his wife, just as one of the characters suggests that he should.

There are some wicked concepts and phrases brought up, but the plot overall is about a 5 or 6/10. It’s consistent, it’s clever, brings up questions about people’s willingness to remember, to manipulate, to purposely accept ignorance.

It’s well shot, well timed, but there’s no punch, no real climatic conclusion or plot twist or anything, partly because there is no climatic confrontation, and what can be counted as one actually happens at the beginning. Instead, it’s more of a thought experiment, one that will definitely get those cogs whirring.

“We all need mirrors to remind us who we are”

Identity in a world of missing information is challenged, but so also is the way we choose to present ourselves, how we feel it is right to present ourselves to others. Not just in terms of manipulating others but also how to appear normal through your (re)actions alone.

“The world doesn’t just disappear when you close your eyes”

Or does it? Reality is questioned, facts wrestle with interpretation and motive. The actions of the world continue around you but if they are not directly affecting you at that present moment, do they matter?

“How am I supposed to heal if I can’t feel time?”

This is a concept I’m hoping to move onto with my own research quite soon, particularly how trauma causes subsequent events to be rearranged around the traumatic event instead of linearly (or in relation to the present moment). It almost seems as though the majority of your self, or at least the time-related part of it, is stuck at the trauma. Memento explores this by having Lenny trapped in the quest for vengeance, unable to forget his wife as she, and their trauma, is his freshest memory. Tulving’s Chronesthesia is an interesting psychological article that relates to this.

Look at Me by Jennifer Egan: The Conception of Self

Turns out, Look at Me by Jennifer Egan may just be the most true book ever written; the endless construction of self in the modern world, fulfilling expectations.

Truly ironic that one character happens to be a disillusioned terrorist, the book itself published just before 9/11.
There is a section where Charlotte (protag.) questions whether Irene, her ghost writer, is clairvoyant, being that her initial lie become true. The whole book, being about cyclical events like this and almost self-fulfilling prophecies, accidentally has the world comply with it’s view, making the book and world accomplices in an event that happens to make the book, Egan, seem clairvoyant too.

“an imaginative artifact of a more innocent time,” as she calls it. I disagree, in a way, but again; this fulfills the books proposition of historys’ importance, it’s assertion over the present at certain times, the evolving base it laid for the now.

Realisation 1; All Americans are outsiders to the world they live in, always.
Realisation 2; I am probably never going to get out of the habit of writing in the style of the last book that I’ve read, or last movie that I’ve seen; I’m just not.
Realisation 3; Due to the books I have read on this (American Lit 1910-now) module, it seems Americans are always writing the exact same story, always. Just in different ways, with different themes (beats) stressed (like Ragtime/ragtime).
Realisation 4; I don’t know if it’s always happened, or is just a 1970sish onwards occurrence, but humans seem to construct self out of other people. This isn’t just based on this book but tumblr; a epigram I made a little while back (We are but Fractals/ Repeating the Same Patterns/ Over and Over.); a seminar today on comedy where it came up in discussion that we laugh at our past selves [which was great caz I realised other people termed their experience in this way too] which led me to question this way of saying “past me” v “present me” v “future me” because, of course, we aren’t static pictures in time- we are an ever evolving self. Thereby, to make a distinction between the past and present self makes no sense because to arrest your ‘self’ at a moment in time/your development and compare it with another point on an evolving spectrum, if you like, is nonsensical; time should have no relation to our perception of self in this way. The only reason it does is memory, but even in our memories we cannot pinpoint a static moment where we happened to be ‘this particular thing’, partly because we obviously construct parts of our memory or rememberance of our ‘self’. So basically it doesn’t make sense, our terminology and method of fragmenting our evolving self is nonsensical.

[Faceless Waterfall]
[Soundtrack; technically just the weird buzzing of staying up too late (sidenote; wordpress has no f’ing clue what to do with italicised vowels) Judy Blume, Runs in the Family, Amanda Palmer]