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March 2002, Week 2


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"Sarah L. Higley" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 14 Mar 2002 15:47:11 -0500
TEXT/PLAIN (74 lines)
Jane, I might add _Memento_, but it is a plot structure that is intended
to be confusing, especially as the whole thing is about a man who can make
no sense of any narrative, including his own; he suffers from Korsakov's
syndrome--an inability to turn short term memory into long.
Consequently, he experiences life in fifteen minute bursts, and must
write, on Polaroids he takes, cryptic messages that will cue him in the
hunt for his wife's killer.  He even writes on his body, wherein skin
becomes memory, sometimes only readable in a mirror.  The director tells
the story backwards, so that we viewers realize, in cumulative increments,
what he has forgotten, and the plot unfolds in reverse.

Quite stunning.

_Mulholland Drive_ I found quite incomprehensible, but utterly compelling.
I didn't find _The Matrix_ incomprehensible, though, or _Seven_.  _The
Usual Suspects_ requires focussed attention and a good vocabulary of film
clues and street jargon.  Let your attention wander for a minute and...
Let me think about this a little more.  What about _2001: A Space
Odyssey?_ I love that film, but I am utterly unable to explain or
understand the ending.  My friends and family fall asleep, however, in the
middle of it.  _The Mothman Prophecies_ is another possibility.  I wrote a
personal email to someone last night exlaining how the film could only
function for me as a dark allegory of the demons of grief and obsession,
but it obscured that message by its literal interpretation of some of
the Point Pleasant "events."

And then, there's _The Blair Witch Project_.  But we won't go there! :)


On Wed, 13 Mar 2002, jane mills wrote:

> Understanding the plot.
> Apologies for cross-listing
> Un chien Andalou, The Big Sleep, Seven, The Usual Suspects, The
> Matrix, Velvet Goldmine, Gummo, Mulholland Drive  all films that have
> incoherent or, to some, incomprehensible plots and storylines. (For
> some reason I am always completely baffled by films about counter
> espionage.) Does it matter? Do we need to understand the plot of a
> movie to enjoy it? Could you let me know more titles of
> incomprehensible films, any academic articles on the subject , and
> your views on the subject?
> Jane Mills
> Honorary Associate, The University of Sydney;
> Senior Research Associate, Australian Film,Television & Radio School
> 27 Dudley Street, Bondi, 2026
> Tel: 9300 8836
> [log in to unmask]
> ----
> Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
> University of Alabama:

Sarah L. Higley                            [log in to unmask]
                                           [log in to unmask]
Associate Professor of English                office:  (585) 275-9261
The University of Rochester                   fax:     (585) 442-5769
Rochester NY, 14627
Py dydwc glein / O erddygnawt vein?
"What brings a gem from a hard stone?"               Book of Taliesin

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