Sunday, June 09, 2013

Stories We Tell: Memory & Identity

"Whenever we reminisce about the past, we build stories based on “re-collecting” details of prior events. Movies act as a powerful means of visually narrating our life stories, and Polley’s film offers both a documentation of a personal experience and a lesson in how the telling of our past can be colored. During the movie, one realizes that what looks like footage from home movies from a shaky Super 8 camera are actually re-enactments, the kind of dramatizations often presented in cheesy history documentaries seen on TV. I tend to dislike such portrayals, yet in Polley’s film these re-creations foster the notion that our own memories are reconstructions of the past. One moral of Stories We Tell is that we may never fully know how we got to where we are today. As David Carr has said about his own recollections: “You can’t know the whole truth, but if there is one it lies in the space between people.” 

- 'Stories We Tell: How we reconstruct the past' By Arthur P. Shimamura. Oxford University Press Blog. Posted on Saturday, June 1st, 2013.

"Stories We Tell" by Sarah Polley.

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