Sunday, July 09, 2006

Do you go to the movies?

In Korea I really got to enjoy going to the movies by myself. On Saturday mornings I would drop my partner off at work and head to the Megabox at Coex and catch a 9:30 or 10:00am showing of whatever was playing. I guess you could call it a guilty pleasure - buying a ticket, getting a latte and a bagel at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in front of the cinema, and reading my International Tribune til the show started.

In Portland I have little choice but to indulge in that old habit. The rep cinemas are fantastic. I have already seen some great films I would have had no chance to see in Seoul: Kekexili: Mountain Patrol (Tibet), Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Korea) and most recently Russian Dolls (France).

These films have all been great in their own ways. Russian Dolls was a romance about a young French writer seeking love and being thwarted at every turn, often by his own desires/impulses. It was similar to Closer in this regard, except that Closer was a brilliant and unrelenting examination of the way that our basic impulses/desires are more often than not the things that stop us from achieving what we most want, whereas Russian Dolls was a romantic comedy that touched on the darker/deeper side of human relationships while always pushing towards redemption and the perfect love that tied everything together in the end.

But I am as much a sucker for the schlockly love story as I am for the dark investigation of human nature - as long as it is well done and not just Matthew McConaughey crap. So this film sent me back into my photo albums and a walk through the romance of another world and another life and time.

And this left me wondering about the editability of the past. We all know that memory can be fooled easily - some researchers believe that everytime we pull a memory to mind we store it by essentially writing over the most recent copy, meaning that it becomes contaminated by whatever we were thinking or feeling when we retrieved it.

And of course our physical record of the past is infinitely more revisable.

Have you ever gone back and read a journal years later and felt the desire to edit it? Cross a name out or "correct" a misapprehension? I recently found a journal from 1994, and was as interested to see what edits I had made at some moment of weakness as I was in the original contents.

And what about your photo albums? That's a big question.

A repository of your happiest and most blissful moments that can be recast as a house of broken dreams with a snap of the fingers. What do you do? Do you rearrange and reevaluate your photo albums everytime your life takes an unexpected turn?

Should a photo album remain a true repository of your history in images, or should it be reinterpreted ad nauseum to always reflect a positive and happy image of times past?

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