Dear Memory: Trinkets of The Past
The concept of time is very strange, past, present, and future intermingled, encounters and happenings filling one’s mind with information to be stored, to be recalled. Human remembers a lot, yet only a certain portion of it imbued with a sense of attachment. Somebody might see a flowered-pattern eraser in your pencil case and ask, “Where did you get it, it’s so pretty?”, and you will stop and think back to that time when you’re feeling bored and decided to buy yourself a small, pretty new thing, just to cheer you up, and answer. Then the same somebody might see the two halves of blue crayon beside the eraser and ask, unsure, “What is that?” and not a memory, but a wave of memories will flood: of a little gift in the far past, how it was kept and held dear, how it moved from one home to the other, how it adorned the corner walls with meaningless scribbles, how one by one it fell into nowhere, how it grew slowly to become just another thing, how one day you found the molded package and saw that small remnant and thought of the blue blue ocean of your childhood dream. And you’ll curse that somebody for being a busybody.
Just as time is strange, memory, both being inseparable concepts, is curious. Distinctive events and things are, of course, naturally have its share of place in memory, yet it can also attach itself to the unlikeliest of them. It goes back probably, on the personal weight and value of said events and things, and this is where it becomes interesting: as factors that put the weight and value are so diverse, so often unexpected in its perceived ordinariness. Documentary film, in its notion of documenting a piece or pieces of reality in its relation to truth, pose an intriguing medium in this regard. Memory cannot be untrue: you remember what you remember. Examining it in the purpose of transporting it outward to an audience, however, is a different matter. In this compilation of memory through the medium of documentary film, we see contexts and issues being revealed in rhythm to the flowing memories, with a note on the idea of home and sense of belonging, dream and ideology.
In the feature films, Odessa… Odessa! (Michale Boganim, 2004) treats us to a dreamlike sceneries of the old city of Odessa, where nostalgia breathes life, and dreams of a nation continue even on faraway lands. La Rideau de Sucre (Camila Guzmán Urzúa, 2006) brought us to the Cuban life under the Communist, seen through the childhood eyes of its now growing adults, as the sweet utopia turns into a bitter reality, and disillusionment covets the nation just as the lenses capture the crumbling residences of its past pioneers. In Every Wall is a Door (Elitza Gueorguieva, 2017), a serious rumination on the past ideology of a nation is put side by side with superficially glamour and cheerful media industry, framed by the eyes of a child’s admiration to her mother, and the seemingly magical grown up world she lives in.
In the shorts collection, Seven Suitcases (Nora Lakos, 2015) bring us in a journey with seven migrant children in Budapest and their stories of home and the things that were lost, and missed. Chickpeas with Sugar (Antonio Aguilar Garcia, 2015) met a tale of conflict and an exodus from Málaga to Almería in 1937 that killed thousands, combined with the intimacy of personal experience and a glimpse of a mother’s strength. Chapter 2 – the Field Trip (Mayumi Nakazaki, 2011), meanwhile, is satisfied with series of sepia photographs and non-existent narration, the collage of images and static background sounds transfer the mind of the audiences into the quiet past that speaks through stillness. In Souvenir de bord de mer (Alice Marsal, 2014), a woman embarks to find and recreate her memories from photographs sold in seaside flea-market, while at the same time tracing the path of the meaning of memory, and its significance to us as a human.
Currated by Ukky Satya Nugrahani