Science Fiction Film & Television

Love, longing and danger

Memory and forgetting in early twenty-first-century sf films

Science Fiction Film & Television (2013), 6, (3), 349–368.

Abstract

This article is concerned with the representation of memory in sf films at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It will examine three films in particular: Michael Winterbottom's Code 46 (UK/US 2003), Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (US 2004) and Wong Kar-wai's 2046 (France/Germany/Hong Kong/China 2004). These films are concerned with the complexities of chance encounters and elusive relationships, highlighting themes of memory, love, nostalgia and longing. They follow on from an earlier tradition of sf films that focus on memory's subjectivity, preoccupied with the use of technology in creating false or prosthetic memories. The films examined here, however, focus less on the details of technology used in manipulating memory. Instead, their concerns are with the blurring of the distinctions between remembering and forgetting.

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Whitehead, Anne. Memory. London: Routledge, 2009. Memory Google Scholar

Brunette, Peter. Wong Kar-wai. Urbana and Chicago: U of Illinois P, 2005. Wong Kar-wai Google Scholar

Cook, Pam. Screening the Past: Memory and Nostalgia in Cinema. London: Routledge, 2005. Screening the Past: Memory and Nostalgia in Cinema Google Scholar

Cook, Pam. ‘Authorship Revised and Revived’. The Cinema Book. 3rd edn. Ed. Pam Cook. London: BFI, 2007. 479-83. The Cinema Book 479 83 Google Scholar

Damasio, Antonio. ‘Time-locked Multiregional Retroactivation: A Systems-level Proposal for the Neural Substrates of Recall and Recognition’. Cognition 33 (1989): 25-62. ‘Time-locked Multiregional Retroactivation: A Systems-level Proposal for the Neural Substrates of Recall and Recognition’ Cognition 33 25 62 Google Scholar

Damasio, Antonio. The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness. London: Vintage, 2000. The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness Google Scholar

Dillon, Brian. ‘Sculpting in Time’. Sight and Sound 21.8 (2011): 26-8. ‘Sculpting in Time’ Sight and Sound 21 26 8 Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund. ‘Mourning and Melancholia’. On Metapsychology: The Theory of Psychoanalysis. Ed. Angela Richards. Trans. James Strachey. 1984. London: Penguin Books, 1991. 245-68. On Metapsychology: The Theory of Psychoanalysis 245 68 Google Scholar

Gilbey, Ryan. ‘British Directors Special - Open Mike’. Sight and Sound 14.10 (2004): 30-4. ‘British Directors Special - Open Mike’ Sight and Sound 14 30 4 Google Scholar

Jameson, Fredric. Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions. 2005. New York: Verso, 2007. Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions Google Scholar

Jollimore, Troy. ‘Miserably Ever After: Forgetting, Repeating and Affirming Love in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Ed. Christopher Grau. London: Routledge, 2009. 31-61. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 31 61 Google Scholar

Lee, Christina. ‘"We'll Always Have Hong Kong": Uncanny Spaces and Disappearing Memories in the Films of Wong Kar Wai’. Violating Time: History, Memory, and Nostalgia in Cinema. Ed. Christina Lee. New York: Continuum, 2008. 124-41. Violating Time: History, Memory, and Nostalgia in Cinema 124 41 Google Scholar

Middleton, Peter, and Tim Woods. Literatures of Memory: History, Time and Space in Postwar Writing. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2000. Literatures of Memory: History, Time and Space in Postwar Writing Google Scholar

Nungesser, Verena-Susanna. ‘I Forgot to Remember (to Forget): Personal Memories in Memento (2000) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)’. Mediation, Remediation, and the Dynamics of Cultural Memory. Ed. Astrid Erll and Ann Rigney. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2009. 31-47. Mediation, Remediation, and the Dynamics of Cultural Memory 31 47 Google Scholar

Pigott, Michael. ‘Manifesting a Mutant Past in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’. Violating Time: History, Memory, and Nostalgia in Cinema. Ed. Christina Lee. New York: Continuum, 2008. 177-90. Violating Time: History, Memory, and Nostalgia in Cinema 177 90 Google Scholar

Radstone, Susannah (ed). Memory and Methodology. Oxford: Berg, 2000. Memory and Methodology Google Scholar

Rayns, Tony. ‘The Long Goodbye’. Sight and Sound 15.1 (2005): 22-5. ‘The Long Goodbye’ Sight and Sound 15 22 5 Google Scholar

Ricoeur, Paul. Time and Narrative. Vol. 3. Trans. Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer. 1988. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1990. Time and Narrative 3 Google Scholar

Ricoeur, Paul. Memory, History, Forgetting. Trans. Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2004. Memory, History, Forgetting Google Scholar

Ricoeur, Paul. ‘Memory, History, Forgiveness: A Dialogue between Paul Ricoeur and Sorin Antohi’. Interview by Sorin Antohi. Trans. and annotated by Gil Anidjar. Janus Head 8.1 (2005): 8-25. Available at www.janushead.org/8-1/Ricoeur.pdf. Accessed 25 Jun 2013. www.janushead.org/8-1/Ricoeur.pdf ‘Memory, History, Forgiveness: A Dialogue between Paul Ricoeur and Sorin Antohi’ Janus Head 8 8 25 Google Scholar

Rossington, Michael, and Anne Whitehead (eds). Theories of Memory: A Reader. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2007. Theories of Memory: A Reader Google Scholar

Sharp, Sharon. ‘Nostalgia for the Future: Retrofuturism in Enterprise’. Science Fiction Film and Television 4.1 (2011): 25-40. ‘Nostalgia for the Future: Retrofuturism in Enterprise’ Science Fiction Film and Television 4 25 40 Google Scholar

Sinha, Amresh, and Terence McSweeney (eds). Millennial Cinema: Memory in Global Film. New York: Wallflower, 2011. Millennial Cinema: Memory in Global Film Google Scholar

Su, John J. Ethics and Nostalgia in the Contemporary Novel. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005. Ethics and Nostalgia in the Contemporary Novel Google Scholar

Toles, George. ‘Trying to Remember Clementine’. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Ed. Christopher Grau. London: Routledge, 2009. 111-57. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 111 57 Google Scholar

Whitehead, Anne. Memory. London: Routledge, 2009. Memory Google Scholar

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Teo, Yugin