by Courtney McNamara
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“One kiss to build a dream”. - Alice Klosterman.
Mnemonica is the type of film you will think about long after you’ve watched it. It reminded me of the many experimental theatre plays I watched as a Fine Arts major in University. A beautiful blend of complicated characters, strange, broken scenes threaded together in completely non-linear order, dream sequences, flashbacks and of course, chalk full of symbolism. The question is, what does it all mean?
Through the narrative, Director Chris Deleo tells a relatively simple story in a creatively complicated way. At its core, unrequited love between a young girl and a boy who see’s dead people through a memory machine. As classic as apple pie. Well, maybe not.
Bucky is a disconnected loner haunted by his dead friend Megan. Alice is a girl with a crush on him, though he’s emotionally unavailable to her. However, as the story slowly unravels, Alice’s uncomfortably annoying persistence pays off, perhaps reminding even the worst cynic that ultimately love does conquer all. Themes of sexuality, loneliness, human connection, and dream are all explored in this cinematic puzzle leaving lots to the viewer’s own interpretation, which was exactly Deleo’s intention. After all, when it comes to relationships, with oneself and with one another, ultimately…to each their own.
I’m not going to pretend that I understood everything in this film. But I do think Deleo does a smart job of timing the abstract scenes just long enough so that the moment your mind begins to wander into thinking about the day’s grocery list, he jumps to the more realistic conversational exchanges between characters that pique your interest enough to continue watching. He also masters some pretty creepy moments effectively jolting the audience with spine-tingling suspense when you least expect it – which is a very challenging thing to do. Scooch’s puppet scene for example, while one of the briefest scenes in the film, still gives me the willies. Some cinematic moments just stick with you.
Early in the film the question is asked “What do you know about art?” to which Bucky replies, “Nothing”. I like this answer a lot. For what does anyone really know about art in the end? Is Mnemonica the next cinematic masterpiece on a direct course to the Academy? Or is it just the confusing result of an artist having a self-cathartic moment that nobody but him will ever truly understand? I don’t know. Watch the film and make your own conclusion. Whatever you decide, you are right.
Courtney McNamara is a traveller, writer, blogger and avid film buff currently residing in Toronto, Canada. www.courtneymcnamara.blogspot.com.
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