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ReFocus: The Films of Michel Gondry$
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Marcelline Block and Jennifer Kirby

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474456012

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474456012.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Memory à la Americana: From Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to Be Kind Rewind

Memory à la Americana: From Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to Be Kind Rewind

(p.167) Chapter 10 Memory à la Americana: From Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to Be Kind Rewind
ReFocus: The Films of Michel Gondry

Yu-Yun Hsieh

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter analyses Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and Be Kind Rewind (2008). In the former, Joel has his memory of his ex-lover Clementine erased before deciding to try to reverse the process by hiding her in memories where she does not belong. In the latter, two bumbling video-store clerks in Passaic, New Jersey produce “sweded” versions of popular films after the VHS tapes of these films are accidentally erased. When the clerks are forced to stop their productions due to copyright infringement, they decide instead to enlist the whole town in the making of a film about the legendary jazz musician Fats Waller (1904–43), who in the film is erroneously believed to have been from Passaic, when in reality Waller was born in New York City. Author Yu-Yun Hsieh compares the exploration of personal memory in Eternal Sunshine with the production of collective memory in Be Kind, noting that in both cases “fictional” or “inauthentic” memories are created to preserve a relationship, whether between Joel and Clementine in the former or between the inhabitants of Passaic in the latter. In both films, memories are open to revision but preserve an essence of truth.

Keywords:   Collective memory, Personal memory, Sweded, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind, Rewind

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