Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Instructor: Amy Corbin, Ph.D., Muhlenberg College
What if we could just erase our painful memories? Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) spins that desire into an innovative cinematic experience, tracing the ups and downs of the romance between Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet), which are disrupted by a medical procedure that erases a person’s memories.
Sunshine plays less like sci-fi than a hybrid of the romantic drama and the puzzle film. With one of those genres focused on emotion and the other on intellect, we feel for the characters and meditate on our own painful memories, all while piecing together the chronologies of several ill-fated relationships.
Director Michel Gondry employs an array of visual and sound choices to dramatize Joel’s struggle to forget about Clementine while simultaneously capturing the preciousness of his memories. The “sunshine” of the title comes not through the film’s icy beaches and gray New Jersey landscapes but the chemistry of cautious Joel and spontaneous Clementine as they create their own world together. Sound bridges and temporal overlaps remind us that memories shape our present and future.
Putting all of this together, we’ll consider in what ways Sunshine represents cinematic trends at the outset of the 21st century: the interest in interrogating reality, the popularity of puzzle narratives, and the use of experimental filmmaking choices to represent the destabilization of objective truth.
Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Visit the public screening page here.
Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.
Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.