Saturday, 31 March 2012

You Must Remember This: Hollywood's obsession with memory

Fact: Hollywood is obsessed with memory, and it seems the reason has a lot to do with computers. Since the explosion of the home PC, millions of us worldwide are ever concerned with having enough memory to ensure the 100 snaps we took of our kids are safely stored, or the 200 snaps of our day trip to whereever will not accidentally be erased.
Need an iPod? Chances are you'll opt for one with the most storage space, because the thought of not having enough room for a thousand CDs is horrific. (You will never fill it).
Because we live in such an intangible world, where music, photos and video exists as a data stored on hard discs and flash drives, it's little wonder we as people fear for our own memories being erased with the flick of a switch.
When Christopher Nolan made Memento a dozen years ago, he seemed to touch a nerve with many cinemagoers. Guy Pearce's character Leonard suffered from a short term memory, so he became obsessed with trying to find his wife's killer.
In 50 First Dates, Drew Barrymore's own short term memory was erased every day, so Adam Sandler had to make her fall in love with him every day. (If only I could have a memory wipe after sitting through Funny People).
And so it goes. That feeling that "all those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain," as Batty so elegantly put it in Blade Runner, has never been more apparent.
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Jim Carrey's memories of Kate Winslet were destined for the hypothetical trash bin, and who wouldn't want that? After all, the bitterness of heartbreak is not the sort of data we might like to leave on our mental hard drive, but as we are the sum total of our parts, if we had the ability to erase bad memories, then surely we'd be less interesting as people, and there's a danger that knowledge would also go out the window.
The fact that Total Recall has been remade 22 years after Arnie got his ass to Mars is an intriguing state of affairs. A blockbuster about one man's search for his own memories has now been remade, so viewers who saw the film first time round will be comparing their own memories of that while empathising with current king of the remakes Colin Farrell.
Will you remember this article in five minutes' time? Possibly not, but Leopard Hatstand, the fact i just inserted two random words for no apparent reason might help it lodge in your head a little.

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