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The famous 2000 film that put Christopher Nolan on the map tells the story of a man on the hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife.

Memento analysis

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I had to translate my academic essay on Memento into English for my lecturer. I got a 100 on it so I believe it's good lol anyway, it's longer than this but I deleted all the obvious parts and thought I'd paste here the rest. I had to pick a few themes out of the ones we studied (all belongs to certain philosophers/psychoanalysts) and concentrate on them in relation to the movie. I'll post parts on two themes.


....... [obvious intro details]
The colorful scenes, which one might argue describe the external conflict of the hero, are arranged in reverse order, end to start. In contrast, the black-white ones, that could be explained as describing the hero's inner conflict, are arranged in chronological order (but in fact should appear before all the colorful scenes). Finally, the two narrative lines connect to one, black-white scene - that changes into colourful during. A sort of analogy of the internal conflict taking over the external world.

Scenes in the film are inherently short, depending on the hero's memory range. This, combined with the unusual arrangement of the narrative, creates a puzzle which is supposedly solved only at the end of the film - the ending that is actually the beginning, the turning point that drives the film. But because the puzzle's answer is that the hero is not at all reliable, it brings up countless other questions. When the only conclusion is that you can not take any character or event for granted (Molloy, 2010, p. 42). The official site also has helped sustaining this ambiguity, as it provides press clippings and fraudulent documents that give a clue on the hero's past. Ambiguity is undoubtedly another major factor that caused the "numerous viewings phenomenon", which played a major part in the film's success and cult status. In an interview, Christopher Nolan said that he clearly knows the truth behind the story. But his brother, Jonathan Nolan, told him he should not tell because "the audience goes into the mind of a man who doesn't know the truth himself. Telling would mean hurting a major point in the plot", and went on to say "if we don't tell, we'll make more money" (Yamato, 2011, p. 2).

The role of the film's narrative structure, and the fact that in every scene the hero reminds himself of the facts that drive him, give the feeling of living in a world without a clear meaning (Williams, 2003). A sense of nihilism in the post-modern world. A world entirely based on symbols and images (Gorovic' and Arav, 2012, "Society of the Spectacle"). Tattoos, notes and Polaroids that make up the world of the hero, could as well be, to emphasize the materialism of the contemporary world, receipts of purchases for example. As noted by novelist Chuck Palahniuk ("Fight Club") in his interpretation of the film. A world where the narrative sequence disappeared. There is no beginning, middle and end, entirely built with short data segments - "status lines" in social networks - as quick as they appear they are forgotten and disappear from our memory. Without any real emotional significance. So Leonard should look again and again at the information in his possession, every time he opens his eyes. Doubtful whether emotion is really still taking part.

......

"Trauma is fascinating to us, because it is always a temptation for something else, always a mask of another trauma" - Jacques Lacan (McGowan & Kunkle, 2004, p. 134). In Memento, "We are attracted to the trauma of the murder. The mystery, the search for the killer. Like the classic film-noirs. However, the collision between the fictional world presented in the film using Leonard's narrative, to the breaking at the end - the breakdown of the thought that we "know it all", takes off parts of the mask that hides the real trauma of "Memento" - the trauma of choice. The choice of Leonard to escape 'reality'. This conflict also drives the audience away from the desire to discover the murderer, understanding not only that this desire is impossible, this desire is entirely fake - the murderer was not even a murderer. So it's entirely irrelevant. The viewer experiences a kind of dissolution of a fictional world. The film is an endless circle that tells a story through a series of contradictions and ambiguities, even when it seems that the narrative is clear, the feeling quickly fades.
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interesting :think:
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lol well, thanks I guess, if you read haha :lol:
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lalyil wrote:lol well, thanks I guess, if you read haha :lol:

Nah I love these (if they're on good movies)
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dafox wrote:
lalyil wrote:lol well, thanks I guess, if you read haha :lol:

Nah I love these (if they're on good movies)


lol then thanks :D
the rest I wrote is about his fear of 'the real' (Jacques Lacan's one of the stages 'The Real') and some other stuff. But yeah I'm pretty proud of it, I came up with stuff I never really saw before.
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lalyil wrote:
dafox wrote:Nah I love these (if they're on good movies)


lol then thanks :D
the rest I wrote is about his fear of 'the real' (Jacques Lacan's one of the stages 'The Real') and some other stuff. But yeah I'm pretty proud of it, I came up with stuff I never really saw before.

yea thats a constant theme in Nolan's movies where the characters choose a lie as opposed to the truth I.e. Memento, The Dark Knight (Harvey Dent cover up/Alfred burning Rachel's letter), and Inception (the obvious metaphysics)
Posts: 3257
Location: Israel
dafox wrote:
lalyil wrote:
lol then thanks :D
the rest I wrote is about his fear of 'the real' (Jacques Lacan's one of the stages 'The Real') and some other stuff. But yeah I'm pretty proud of it, I came up with stuff I never really saw before.

yea thats a constant theme in Nolan's movies where the characters choose a lie as opposed to the truth I.e. Memento, The Dark Knight (Harvey Dent cover up/Alfred burning Rachel's letter), and Inception (the obvious metaphysics)


Yep.. "subjective reality".
The Real though according to Lacan is a sort of beastly need.. something that isn't physical, rather, a strong need. Like 9/11 for example. Watching these people jump from the building, it's horrible, it's a tragedy. Though most can't look away. It's like we're drawn to tragedies. Especially in those years after the two world wars. We're actually bored cos there' isn't enough violence.
So I proved in the essay Lenny is actually the opposite. You would say he's a violent dude but I explained it in a few paragraphs why he doesn't want to admit the real, the violence. Why here Memento Mori is actually incorrect, he chooses to forget death.
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lalyil wrote:The role of the film's narrative structure, and the fact that in every scene the hero reminds himself of the facts that drive him, give the feeling of living in a world without a clear meaning (Williams, 2003). A sense of nihilism in the post-modern world. A world entirely based on symbols and images (Gorovic' and Arav, 2012, "Society of the Spectacle"). Tattoos, notes and Polaroids that make up the world of the hero, could as well be, to emphasize the materialism of the contemporary world, receipts of purchases for example. As noted by novelist Chuck Palahniuk ("Fight Club") in his interpretation of the film. A world where the narrative sequence disappeared. There is no beginning, middle and end, entirely built with short data segments - "status lines" in social networks - as quick as they appear they are forgotten and disappear from our memory. Without any real emotional significance. So Leonard should look again and again at the information in his possession, every time he opens his eyes. Doubtful whether emotion is really still taking part.


This part is top notch, a real winner!

These extracts have reminded me how this is Nolan's best film so far.
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Z. Cobb wrote:
lalyil wrote:The role of the film's narrative structure, and the fact that in every scene the hero reminds himself of the facts that drive him, give the feeling of living in a world without a clear meaning (Williams, 2003). A sense of nihilism in the post-modern world. A world entirely based on symbols and images (Gorovic' and Arav, 2012, "Society of the Spectacle"). Tattoos, notes and Polaroids that make up the world of the hero, could as well be, to emphasize the materialism of the contemporary world, receipts of purchases for example. As noted by novelist Chuck Palahniuk ("Fight Club") in his interpretation of the film. A world where the narrative sequence disappeared. There is no beginning, middle and end, entirely built with short data segments - "status lines" in social networks - as quick as they appear they are forgotten and disappear from our memory. Without any real emotional significance. So Leonard should look again and again at the information in his possession, every time he opens his eyes. Doubtful whether emotion is really still taking part.


This part is top notch, a real winner!

These extracts have reminded me how this is Nolan's best film so far.


:clap:
A good word from the mighty Shaz! Thank you :D

It is. Everytime I see it I interpret things differently. It's a neverending puzzle. I don't think any film was ever able to narrate a story in such a way since. It's a true one of a kind.
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