Essays on cinematic narrative. The focus is a set of dynamics collected under the concept of folding, a related system of techniques to model agency and causality.

About Memento (2000)

Published: 13 Feb 2014

The idea behind these three examples — when transferred to the new test site — is to illustrate some of the unique properties of the experimental user interface, testing whether and how novel ideas can be hosted in that UI.

They will therefore seem a bit out of place on this site, where all the projects are integrated.

This is Christopher Nolan's second film. He has since become very successful. As with many of his projects, it was co-written with his brother.

It challenges the viewer from the first moments because the structure is novel, so at the same time the viewer is trying to sort out the story, he/she is trying to sort out how the story is being told. The confusion in the story's presentation is folded into that of the main character, who has a condition in which his memory must get refreshed by clues he must leave for his future self.

In terms of the narrative structure, there are three flows of scenes, woven among each other.

One flow is the usual: we follow the first half of the story as it develops. These scenes are in black and white. The second of the major flows is in color and presents the second half of the story in reverse order. The first of these we see — being the first scene in the film — is literally played backwards.

As a clever method of hinting, this scene is of a Polaroid image undeveloping.

These scenes alternate back and forth, with a duration supposed to be the same amount of time that our character can rebuild and retain memories. At the end of the viewing period, these forward and backward sequences connect.

Interspersed are two kinds of flashbacks. We have some flashbacks of memories of our character, being in a way his inner movie. We see these the way he would have. The other flashbacks are a traditional relationship between movie and movie-goer; we see these as if we had a camera spying on the scene.

The Structure of the Film

(Image) A .


The Structure of the Film”,”(Video) A simple animation showing the structure.

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© copyright Ted Goranson, 2014