RR Films: Memory

As we remember fondly that slightly more predictable age that ended just 100 days ago in the USA and scratch our heads at the great reversals made since the Tories were emphatically ousted from government 20 years ago on this side of the pond, let’s consider memory as a topic.

We remember some events with joy (like the 45th anniversary of the GD at Bickershaw falling next Sunday) and others with sadness (see above), yet memories form a huge part of us and the way we view new events.

It must be a nightmare, then, to lose your memories 15 minutes after they form, as is the case with Leonard Shelby in Christopher Nolan’s brain-scrambling Memento:

What films about/featuring memory would you recommend?

21 thoughts on “RR Films: Memory

  1. The first film that I thought of was The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, a 1943 Pressburger and Powell film, starring Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr and Anton Walbrook.

    The film is told in flashback, which is a common film technique and usually relies on the main character thinking back and relying on memory to relive the past, thus telling the story.

  2. Carole beat me to it with the mention of flashback as a memory device. So many great films come to mind here, many already mentioned for other topics – Rashomon and the Godfather trilogy for starters.

  3. Tempted to go for Blade Runner here, where Sean Young has been implanted with false memories. But i’ll go for The Remains of the Day, where Anthony Hopkins has only his memories from the last 20 years of so, while Emma Thompson has had an actual life.

  4. Last year’s Embrace of the Serpent is, at least partly, about memory. Two different European scientists encounter the same Amazonian shaman many years apart. In the first encounter, the local man is confident of his identity and culture. In the second he has all but forgotten his own people’s customs. “Now they are just pictures on rocks!”
    There is quite a lot of exploration of the importance (and fragility) of shared memories in a traditional society which defines itself by customs and beliefs which go back for centuries.

  5. Angel Heart. Mickey Rourke is hired to track down a missing 40’s Jazz singer. Things do not go well.

  6. I can’t remember if someone nommed ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ recently but it would be perfect for this given that it features a US platoon captured by a Soviet force during the Korean war who are taken to China and subjected to a new brainwashing technique. Not only does this convince members of the platoon to shoot each other but the sergeant ( Laurence Harvey ), the son of a rabid right wing politician (contemporary ?), is used by the Communists as a potential assassin of the president ! To make matters more confusing he is under the covert control of his mother who is a Communist agent ! A great film with Sinatra giving his best film performance.

  7. Just a word of appreciation re. this feature.
    Some time ago I invested in a large flatscreen for my living room plus two very comfy chairs. As a result I spend much of my time watching films, I’ve recently seen or re-seen all of John LeCarre’s, all of Coppola’s and most of Charlie Kaufman’s.
    The best part of this deal is that the Sonoma County public library system has about 20 branches and they all have separate budgets and consequently the DVD collection is unbelievable; I’ve never requested a title that they didn’t have. I make the request online and it’s delivered to my local library and they email me to say that its in. From this week’s RR films I’ve just ordered 3;
    Waltz of Bashir.
    Embrace of the serpent.
    A prophet.
    What an amazing resource you and they combine to create, thank you.

    • The whole idea for this series was to give folks some ideas about good films to watch, so it’s great to know you’re reading and taking notes, gf! But why not join in? I’m sure there some you know about and we don’t…..

    • It sounds like you have a good system going there GF and although I haven’t seen Embrace of the Serpent the other 2 on your list are both very powerful films, hope you like them !

  8. Chris: I made a deliberate choice not to participate because I’ve spent my whole life either making films or teaching about ’em, right next to me I have a floor to ceiling bookcase with about 6ft of film books. If I started in on that lot plus the internet I’d spend all my time doing it. Much prefer to read the often eloquent comments of other spillers.

  9. ps: Just finished reading The Godfather Notebook by Coppola, very interesting and highly recommended to anyone interested in how films get made.

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