*****  This email has MAJOR SPOILERS for Memento so don't even think about
reading if you haven't seen the film.
>Re: the Memento DVD - why didn't they include a "remix," so we could
>watch the movie in chronological order? It seems like an obvious move -
>several people I talked to after seeing it all specifically mentioned

There aren't any other DVD versions currently scheduled which also means no
director's commentary; what might happen further down the road, though, who
knows?  There's a rumor that the Canadian DVD has a "hidden" option for a
chronological ordering but I haven't found any confirmation of that yet.
(& you could create your own rough remix if DVD players allowed you to
rearrange tracks like CD players do--perhaps some do but mine doesn't.)  It
seems to me that a chronological rearrangement of the film would work
against the themes (the unreliability of memory is explicitly stated but
it's also about the nature of images & communication, the construction of
personality/character, the purposes of violence) and nearly all the
dramatic tension, making it fairly pointless even as a curiosity.  The
start of the internal story is the B&W phone conversation with flashbacks
about Sammy which strung together would make a slow start to the film.  But
if it begins with Leonard killing the drug dealer and then Teddy telling
Leonard that his wife has already been avenged then we get the payoff
before the setup.  The existing film is structured so that situations are
subject to constant revision:  the woman in distress who is anything but,
the man Leonard chases who in fact is chasing him, the innocent drink
that's actually a test, even something as basic as Teddy being the murderer
but maybe not.  It also has some of the more conventional mysteries that
are resolved later in the film:  where did he get that car & clothing, what
was the burned photo originally, who is the man in the closet?  Put in
story order these become elements of a more routine revenge drama with a
gimmick.  At the start of Memento Leonard seems like your standard man on a
quest but by the end he's clearly somebody constantly manipulated and
cheated; in story order you would start by seeing a confused, distrustful
Leonard who just gets bounced around for the remaining time.

(There's also an interesting idea here about the alterability of films:
Formerly mostly film buffs/scholars were the only ones really interested in
multiple versions (or who even knew they existed) but today anybody can
watch films in rated, unrated or director's cuts; full-frame or
letterboxed; or with deleted scenes and director's commentary further
eroding the sense of a completed, cohesive work.  The Terminator 2 DVD for
example offers three different edits of the film plus piles of supplemental
material.  I made the mistake of watching the deleted scenes to Out of
Sight immediately after the film and now have memories that some of that
was actually in the finished film.)

>Memento is a version of what I call "Flashback as Case History'

There's also a difference in Memento with the infamous "subliminal" shots.
Without them, the flashbacks would be more of a long-winded explanation
relating to the main story but not really part of it.  However since these
shots indicate that Leonard might actually be Sammy (the one that makes
this most explicit--Sammy in the institution changing into Leonard--lasts
for five frames on the DVD:  a sixth of a second) only then do the
flashbacks become case history *of* the protagonist.  But then these
subliminals (they actually aren't since the shots are noticable) might also
be fantasy images that don't change anything.  This is where I start to
think Memento may be a bit too tricky for what it's trying to do.  By
chance I'd seen the Japanese film Perfect Blue a few days earlier and that
film's mirrored, unsolvable narrative seems much more radical to me.
Memento at times feels like a diversion along the lines of a 5000 piece
jigsaw puzzle, just get the right approach and it all fits, while Perfect
Blue presents two narrative interpretations where *neither* can account for

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