The Movies I’ve Seen Recently, Arbitrarily Arranged Into A Narrative Sequence Emphasizing The Extent To Which They Each Deal With The Subject of How We Remember Stuff In The Past That Makes Us Feel Shitty About Ourselves, Part Two
Benjamin Buttons, via the Huntington WV, Pullman Square movie theater
Though the Forrest Gump parallels are sort of obvious (and it was written by the same screenwriter, I believe), it occurs to me that it stretches out our subjective experience of history into a narrative of time’s objective experience. Let me try that again: in each historical period, Button is the age that people who are from that time are now. He’s ancient during the jazz age, elderly during the depression, middle aged during the sixties, and youthful in the recent past because these are the ages of people now that grew up in those times. And that’s how those eras live on right now: the pre-WWII era only exists in the minds of the very old, while the Beatles are the memory of people in their fifties, and so forth. It doesn’t line up exactly, but I’ll dodge that problem by pretending it begins to retrospectively narrate the twentieth centrury — like Forrest Gump — from the subject position of the mid nineties. Anyway, what this reading does for the movie, I think, is make it a performance of the ways that the past exists not as reality but as a story which — like Forrest Gump – always re-imagines the past in service to the selfish needs of the present, is always mediated not by the objectivity of then’s autonomy, but by the contingency of now’s differently persistant subjectivity.