Chapter

Puzzle Films, Ambiguity and Technologically-enabled Narrative

Claire Molloy

in Memento

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780748637713
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671007 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748637713.003.0004
Puzzle Films, Ambiguity and Technologically-enabled Narrative

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This chapter discusses the narrative and offers a scene-by-scene analysis of Memento with the aim of determining how the film creates and maintains ambiguity. It also reports the analysis of the film framed by David Bordwell's cognitive theory of narrative comprehension. In Narration in the Fiction Film, Bordwell defines a narrational mode as ‘a historically distinct set of norms of narrational construction and comprehension’. There is a high level of redundancy in Memento. Redundancy is absolutely crucial in this film due to its complicated structure. Memento follows certain norms of classical narrative having two distinct plot-lines which converge towards the end of the film, a three-act structure, a goal-oriented protagonist, a high level of redundancy, causally-linked scenes and a chain of events. It was always intended to be a ‘DVD-enabled’ film that attended to the changing conditions of film spectatorship and the trend towards multiple viewings.

Keywords: narrative comprehension; Memento; ambiguity; Fiction Film; David Bordwell; cognitive theory; redundancy

Chapter.  17205 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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