Sunday, March 20, 2005

The erasure of memories

If I could, what memories would I erase?

Would it be something from my childhood? An unpleasant set of pictures of myself in a dark corner of my Bandung bedroom? Would it be one friend who betrayed our friendship? Would it be all about someone I met (eight) years ago, who gave me some (emotional) bruises at the end of our relationship? Or would it be someone who always give me real laughters yet also sad tears?

Our memories store some unpleasant echoes of failure and betrayal. These can make us unhappy; some people want to forget these memories and move with their lives. So, wouldn't it be great if we can have some selective unwanted memories erased?

In the movie I just finished watching, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you can have that option. Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson) and his staff (Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, and Elijah Wood), with their company Lacuna, offer this service by performing a certain 'brain surgery' procedure. And the story begins when Joel (Jim Carey) is going through this procedure after he finds out that her girl-friend, Clementine (Kate Winslet), has her memories of Joel erased.

As you can guess, like all other movies with techno-science theme, this movie too dwell on the technological failure. So it goes, procedure of having Joel's memories of Clementine removed is a failure and this is really the core of the whole story.

I'm not gonna tell how the story goes and how it ends. You better watch it by yourself. While I don't think it's a 5-stars movie, I really think it is a very interesting movie. I like the way it presents technological breakthrough stuff as channel to metaphorically pose a deeper dilemma: would we be better off or not by erasing heartbreak from our lives. Charlie Kaufmann (a writer) did a great job in presenting this dilemma in a smart framework of pyschological adventures . The plot is clever. The story is poignant. And of course the actors did so well.

I love some scenes--visual collage--of erasure moments where tangible artifacts are rumbling off as the memories are gradually removed. It is not a new idea, but still, it works well in this movie.

Much I can say about this movie. On the top of it, for me this movie is a reminder that true happiness has no easy answers. It is not merely about a gigantic collection of good and beautiful memories.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I used to erased bad memories. It's just a blank spot in my mind. I don't want to keep anger. Bad habbit...

melly

merlyna lim said...

i don't know how you do it, melly.. if you really can do it, wow.. then it's a great scientific innovation. of course you can always repress your anger, sadness, etc. you can forgive persons whom you were angry with and move on with your life. but, there is a difference between 'emotional reactions' (anger, sadness, etc) and 'recorded narratives and events'. the later are kept in our brain -- they are memorized. memories are beyond our control. you cannot intentionally erase memories, they are embedded in our brain and nerve structure. you can pretend to forget or you may unintentionally lose them -- amnesia, getting older, etc, etc, but you can never get rid from them intentionally.

-rino said...

yep, setuju mer. we shall not forget but we can forgive.

ini bikin aku inget ttg memori suatu kejadian waktu aku mau dioperasi di umur 5 thn. anehnya kejadian ini ga pernah aku inget *sama sekali* sampai taun 1996 waktu kami pe-a ttg konsep diri dan luka batin. ngeri lho waktu aku sadar, kok bisa2nya I keep something in my mind without realising it for almost 20 years.

apalagi ternyata memori itulah yang selama itu restricting my relationships with me dads (worldly and heavenly).

the mysteries of memories...

dy said...

terkadang... mau jujur sama diri sendiri aja nggak gampang ya Mer, maunya inget yg bagus2 aja....

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Dy.
You see that she even wrote a wrong thing, not knowing what
the difference between a massive earthquake and a Tsunami,
she erased a comment commented by someone.
That's a fact that an example of someone does not want
to have a wrong memory.

merlyna lim said...

to the anonymous:
me, too, agree with dy. but what is the connection?
i didn't erase any comment. i never did.
yes, i did write a wrong news about tsunami because i was watching a wrong news and too quick in posting my blog. call me impulsive...
then i saw someone (you?) correcting me (it's still there) so i thanked you (him/her) for correcting me and i corrected my blog.
so, what do you want, after all?
and why commenting on my blog and being anonymous at the same time?

Fannie said...

Hmmm... I love this movie too. But i think we shouldn't erase our memory, bad or good, coz it is a part of our life that makes we just like now :p

merlyna lim said...

fan, setuju... ngapain erase2 memories, lagian memories ngga bakalan ke erase juga ye...