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What Is Memento? Ontology and Interpretation in Mainstream Film
  • Andrew Kania, Trinity University
Document Type
Contribution to Book
Publication Date
At the end of the flashback, quite late in Memento, when we finally get to see what Leonard remembers of the incident that led to his memory impairment, the camera pans slowly away from a close-up of Leonard's head, oozing blood onto the tiles of his bathroom floor (E, 1:19:27). Just before the flashback fades out, and we return to the present in which Leonard is recounting this memory to Natalie, the frame includes only the bathroom floor, tiled entirely in white with the exception of two black tiles in opposite corners of the screen, like dots begging to be connected. Here we have a small metaphor for one of the reasons for Memento's success. Audiences went straight from the theater to the coffeehouse in order not only to discuss the deeper issues raised by the film, such as the nature of memory and the self, but also to connect the narrative dots and figure out what actually happens in the film.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Andrew Kania
Citation Information
Kania, A. (2009). What is Memento? Ontology and interpretation in mainstream film. In A. Kania (Ed.), Memento (pp. 167-188). doi: 10.4324/9780203876596