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March 2002, Week 2

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Subject:
From:
John Dougill <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Thu, 14 Mar 2002 00:24:16 +0900
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I should say that Memento has a plot that is completely incomprehensible if
you stop to analyse it though the basic idea is clear enough.  Someone on
the internet has pieced it all painstakingly together in intricate jigsaw
fashion, and you can probably find it easily enough by doing a search with
google because that's how I came across it.  After reading the article, it's
patently obvious that no one could possibly understand the plot in detail
without seeing the film some twenty times and taking notes....

Nonetheless, I would rate Memento very highly, together with the
aforementioned Blow-Up and Performance.  I wonder why...  it seems that
plots that hover tantalisingly close to incomprehension without slipping
over the edge into sheer random meaninglessness have a particularly potent
pull on the imagination.  I imagine that this is because they communicate on
an emotional level that goes beyond the narrative in much the same way that
T.S. Eliot said that true poetry communicates even when it is not
understood.  Both painting and music affect us deeply though in a non-verbal
and non-rational manner and I imagine that films that tap into archetypal
and affective imagery act in much the same way...

It seems that which is easily understood is easily disposed of by the mind.
That to which one cannot relate at all is simply dismissed.  But that which
puzzles one lingers in the mind.  At least that's the way it seems to me.
Very interested to hear what others have to say about this....

on 13/3/02 4:21 PM, jane mills at [log in to unmask] 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: http://www.tcf.ua.edu
>

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