Memento is a film created / directed by Christopher Nolan in 2000. In this film, the main character Leonard who has short term memory loss, which is a phenomenon where he loses his memory after about 10 minutes. This film consists of 44 scenes. Some half are in color and the rest are in black and white.
My first reaction to the film was that it is “difficult”. It was so confusing to me because I constantly tried to put together the scenes in a linear narrative structure, which is a common way of reading a story. However, I suddenly thought this confusion was what the directed had intended for. If I just let go of all those thoughts and follow the structure of this film, I can just focus on what is happening now in the film even if I cannot follow the plot of the event, just like the main character Leonard. Watching this film in this narrative structure is like looking at an event from Leonard’s perspective, which was really interesting to me.
An interesting thing about this movie is that it goes in reverse chronological order, and the scenes in black and white are in chronological order. Scenes in color and in black and white appears alternately like a zig zag.
Therefore the first two scenes (color and black & white) show the first scene and the last scene of the movie, and the viewers constantly see the first and the last parts of the film together. And the last scene that the viewer get to watch is the middle scene.
Scenes going in reverse direction – is like Leonard’s experiences because viewers cannot see what happened before a certain scene had happened.
I think the director Christopher really did an experiment with the structure. The film consists of scenes that cut back and forth unlike normal films that follow a narrative structure, which goes from exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution in order.
If I only look at the scenes in color, it is really confusing because I get to know the events in reverse order. However, the black and white scenes go in order so I think this non-linear time was effectively used to make viewers to put together events as the film progress and reveal clues.