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lux film prizeGiornate degli Autori - Venice Days

05 September, 2010

Film as a common memory?


Memory. Memory and Roots. Roots and memory. How do films influence them? What role films play in this context? Today in our conversation, two really interesting statements have been made.

First things first, there is no discussion for me that memory is important, and that, indeed, it was ignorance that made crimes like the Shoah possible. But let's not talk about that.

Nick made a statement that information and knowledge is now instantaneously available everywhere everytime makes information less valuable. If someone wants to know something, he just can look it up on his iPhone and use this information and forget about it. When I was a child, I asked my parents stuff, and if they did not know, they checked it, and it took a few hours to get the information. This in the end meant that the information became more valuable and thus more resistant in my memory. Now information is more in quantity, but it seems to become more disposable too.

The other statement made by Myriam was that she believes that her memory will not be formed of facts, but more of emotions. She thinks, for example, that she won't remember which films she has seen in Venice, but she will remember how she felt in Venice.

This left me with a thought: Film forces you to sit down for 90 minutes, 2 hours, sometimes more, sometimes less, and receive the information. It is a dark room, and mostly communication with the outside seems restricted. A perfect place to receive information, and possibly to save it longer, as the acquiring of the information is a much more intense process than looking something up on Wikipedia.

But then, film makes you also feel very strongly. Could it be that film could be the glue which can link information to our emotion-based memory? If we remember emotions better than information, we should accept that, and develop the links between information and emotion.

That way, directors receive a very important role: They choose important subjects, and create the information-emotion complex film from these subjects. Of course this contains also a big danger: bias and subjective points of view question the value of information. Especially in a situation where a government can decide on films and funding, this would allow these instances of influencing history.

But then, I guess, that's what's been happening with history over and over again.

It is hard to say wether this is a responsibilty we should put on filmmakers, and if they are ready to take this responsibility. But even if they did, there would still be an ultimate responsibility with the viewer of the film, as he will always have to question films and critically reflect on them.

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