Notes on Memory and Philosophy…

May 6, 2010 — Leave a comment

Notes from…

Benjamin, Walter; On the Image of Proust in “Memory” (ed. M. Rossington, A. Whitehead) John Hopkins University Press; Baltimore 2007

“The Latin word textum means ‘web’. No one’s text is more of a web or more tightly woven than that of Marcel Proust; to him nothing was tight or durable enough.” (p120)

“For an experienced event is finite – at any rate, confined to one sphere of experience; a remembered event is infinite, because it is merely a key to everything that happened before and after it. There is yet another sense in which memory issues strict regulations for weaving. Only the actus purus of remembrance itself, not the author or the plot, constitutes the unity of the text. One may even say that the intermittences of author and plot are only the reverse of the continuum of memory, the figure on the backside of the carpet.” (p120)

I think it’s fascinating that the Latin word textum actually means web. For me, in the context of the research I am doing, I take that to mean that the documentary is the text, and it is woven together by various technical aspects (editing, interviews, shots) but tries to reflect the particular weaving of memory as dealt by the subject. So…there are two texts that need to be brought together. The text that is the memory-narrative, and the text that is the film. The best way to achieve this, is through the reflexive mode where the film making itself is evident and explicit. Instead of film-making trying to focus on being objective and finding the finite experience, for biography documentary, film-making must be a key to everything that happened before and after, with implicity and with Herzog’s idea of ecstaticness. By the film naking itself reflecting the act of creativity, the film becomes more intimate and more complex. This type of film form can be seen in Sunless (Marker), Lessons in Darkness (Herzog), Vernon, Florida (Morris), Forbidden Lies (Anna Broinowski).


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