I have this condition…my ds106 contribution

It may seem odd, but one of my favorite movies is Memento(2000), the story of a man, Leonard, who has short term memory loss and how he sets out to avenge the murder of his wife. Leonard’s condition makes it impossible for him to hold on to information for long, so as he acquires information about the crime he desperately tries to make it permanent: snapshots via Polaroid camera stuffed into his pockets, scraps of paper or coasters from bars wedged into a folder, or sometimes tattoos embossed onto his body.

I am not a fan of violence or blood or crime flicks…but this film has always stuck with me. The interplay between the color and the black and white sequences with the black and white sequences proceeding in chronological order, while the color sequences move in reverse chronological order was amazing. Those scenes alternate and intertwine until they meet in the middle of the story, which is also the end of the film. The viewer feels like Leonard..trying to hold on to information, trying to piece together random bits that seem not to interconnect. Until they do.

In researching this film (and watching it again) I discovered this little nugget via IMDB:

In the two disc DVD set, the second disc contains the movie in chronological order. To play this version of the movie: (1) select the clock icon; (2) select the answer “C” to every multiple choice question; and (3) arrange the tire changing steps in reverse chronological order (3-4-1-2). The movie will then begin to play (with the credits first – in backward order). Some functions (fast forward, chapter skip, etc.) are disabled.

I plan to try that out.

I wanted to use a scene from the film that showed the Polaroid pictures developing (and then un-developing), but the only one I could find was of a dead, bloody body. Too much blood.

But then I found this scene and thought, okay, this might work. It’s the first of Leonard’s tattoos we see in the movie, and it’s that memory that drives him to keep staying on track as best he can. He does not want to be Sammy Jankis, and yet… This memory sticks, and haunts him throughout the film.

Some of my favorite quotes:

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

“Memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They’re just an interpretation, they’re not a record, and they’re irrelevant if you have the facts. ”


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  1. I love the constant ability to erase the written memories on his hand, this beautifully captures the essence of the film, and works well o repeat. I’d try and slow the image down and make it a bit more deliberate. As for the film, I agree with you on so many counts, an excellent idea brilliantly executed. I mean how horrific would it really be to have lost your memory, know as much, and still try and recreate a past. Even a present, and the way in which Nolan communicates this effectively is remarkable. What’s more, I really like Guy Pierce a lot as an actor, and his intensity in this role, like LA Confidential, makes the movie.

    So, yeah.

  2. Thanks, bava.

    Yeah, I need to retrace my steps and see if I can get that to slow down. It was the end of the day and I just wanted to get it up there and then see what people thought.

    I used gif ninja to render the gif from a .wmv file (because wtf it couldn’t take an .mov file? hello?) and in the process it made it smaller and also faster. I got the size bit figured out, now I need to deal with the speed.

    Stay tuned.

    And Guy Pearce is great. He’s in the King’s Speech and also was the solider, I think, who got blown up in the beginning of The Hurt Locker.

  3. Let’s not forget Guy’s role in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert … and I s’pose we can forgive him for The Count of Monte Cristo. 🙂

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