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  • Andrew Kania, Trinity University

Within a short space of time, the film Memento has already been hailed as a modern classic. Memorably narrated in reverse, from the perspective of Leonard Shelby, the film’s central character, it follows Leonard’s chaotic and visceral quest to discover the identity of his wife’s killer and avenge her murder, despite his inability to form new long-term memories.

This is the first book to explore and address the myriad philosophical questions raised by the film, concerning personal identity, free will, memory, knowledge, and action. It also explores problems in aesthetics raised by the film through its narrative structure, ontology, and genre. Beginning with a helpful introduction that places the film in context and maps out its complex structure, specially commissioned chapters examine the following topics:

  • memory, emotion, and self-consciousness
  • agency, free will, and responsibility
  • personal identity
  • narrative and popular cinema
  • the film genre of neo-noir
  • Memento and multimedia

Publication Date
  • Memento,
  • Christopher Nolan,
  • film,
  • cinema,
  • philosophy,
  • memory,
  • emotion,
  • free will,
  • identity,
  • multimedia
Table of Contents

Moral monster or responsible person? Memento's Leonard as a case study in defective agency / Michael McKenna -- Leonard's system: why doesn't it work? / Joseph Levine -- The feel of the world: exograms, habits, and the confusion of types of memory / John Sutton -- The value of memory: reflections on Memento / Raymond Martin -- Memento and personal identity: do we have it backwards? / Richard Hanley -- Memento and the phenomenology of comprehending motion picture narration / Noël Carroll -- Reconfiguring the past: Memento and neo-noir / Deborah Knight and George McKnight -- What is Memento? ontology and interpretation in mainstream film / Andrew Kania

Citation Information
Kania, A. (Ed.) (2009). Memento. doi: 10.4324/9780203876596