Comparison/Contrast Film Response By Phillip Park

Comparison/Contrast Response

Amelie Memento

Colorful storytelling Black and White to move plot

Sequential beginning to end

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Sequential ending to beginning

Third person narrator First person narrator

Throw away characters All characters accounted for in plot

Amelie & Memento

Camera focus on minute details

Character on cryptic journey

Use of photo/text combination to further plot journey

Speeding up or slowing down of action to increase significance

The lists above constitute my thoughts on the differences and similarities that I find most significant between the two films. I want

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to focus on one (or maybe more) from each category that made me not just appreciate the product, but love it thoroughly. First, I found the style of narration, though different in each movie, to be suited perfectly to each main character. Amelie made no decisions for herself, and lived a life that was totally dependent on being seen and not heard. For that reason, it made complete sense that a third person would narrate her thoughts and intentions throughout the film. In Memento however, the choppy nature of Leonard as narrator brought the viewer into the world of a man with “his condition.” Second, is the chronology of the plot. I absolutely love when directors make

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the choice of telling a circular story, as in Kubrick’s Lolita, but Christopher Nolan actually tells a story backwards in a cyclical way. For me, that choice only brings the viewer in closer to the action of the film. Every detail is lived, in some cases, many times, yet no detail is left out of the ending of the story, such as the bullets on the seat of the truck seen in one of the movie’s opening scenes as well as one of the final shots. By contrast, Amelie uses a great deal of surrealist tactics in its linear telling of the story. Several moments in the film felt very cartoonish in its presentation, outside of the moments when Amelie is clearly manipulating her world through her imagination.

There are a multitude of qualities that make these two generic films similar, the starkest contrast that I saw was in the realism of time and place. Amelie is set in Paris, and it is known that all action takes place in and around the city; however, there were times whenI felt that realism was being tested. The arrows which guided Nino’s path up and through a maze of staircases that seemed to lead to nowhere gave me a feel of a Dr. Seuss story rather than a film. Amelie can be described as very avant-garde in its aesthetic because of the way that it challenges the idea of time and place by including points of surrealism into a seemingly normal, recognizable world. This switch sometimes conflicted with the films overall mise-en-scene for me. While watching an aesthetically beautiful piece, it was very difficult to wrap myself around the distinction between Amelie’s imagination with her real world activities. In Memento however, it was quite obvious when we as viewers were being fed information that was integral to the development of the characters as well as the plot. I never once felt the whip-lash from such jarring changes in the real to the imagined. What made both films so special was their commitment to the risks taken in their execution of the plot. Both films could be classified as a product of the Modernist movement by their inclusion of Realist and Surrealist aspects. Both experiences required an open mind and a keen eye for detail. While the characters and the plot was important, so was the aesthetic of the background. Color, costume, camera angle, and character perspective were all used as tools just as important as typical Hollywood eye candy and fitting into a genre mold. Both films were incredible, and films I will recommend and return to because of their similarities and differences.

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