Memories Look at Me Screen 9 articles

Memories Look at Me


Memories Look at Me Poster
  • Purposely banal family drama, which might nonetheless have been Ozu-like with a bit more life and Oxhide-like with a bit more rigour. As it is, very close to maudlin; though it does grow on you.

  • The movie, which might strike some as less tragic than tragically dull, often flirts with nothingness. There’s a fair amount of silence and some striking shots wherein the camera simply observes the parents dozing. As family drama, “Memories Look at Me” makes those of master minimalist Yasujiro Ozu seem like “The Young and the Restless.” In a way it’s like Ozu in reverse—the child struggling with the realization that her parents are slipping away.

  • Another master shot of-the-moment film, but quite lovely, unobtrusively parceling out information about the world outside the apartment in unemphatic frames that may or may not include windows (many interior views are cozily claustrophobic, cut off from overt context; every window vantage point is invaluable), giving you time to notice the monotonously, almost parodically regular stream of busses and bicycles outside (it's a real jolt when the family gets into a car midway through).

  • A sense of sorrow suffuses the film, in part because Mrs. Song's stories about the past always refer to hard times (persistent hunger, inescapable cold, an "awful" hospital), the memories of which make her cry. No wonder her favorite refrains seem to be "He had a hard life" and "What choice did I have?"

  • As the title infers, as well as the numerous shots of her parents simply sleeping, it's the medium's role as a tool of memory that's at the heart of Song's debut, an elegiac work on life (and filmmaking) as a humorous yet tragic attempt to stave off death.

  • Despite being a chatty meditation on the comfort of memory and the dark cloud of mortality, Song’s portrait of the passage of time is nothing less than engrossing, enlightening and ultimately heartbreaking.

  • Sweet and fiercely humane, Song’s layered family portrait is decidedly Buddhist: silent when it needs to be and steadfast about approaching inevitable tragedy with care and patience.

  • This patient, sustained portrait of familial love is a rare achievement in today’s art cinema, and the mixture of deep sensitivity and matter-of-factness with which it explores its subject is without precedent in either Jia or Hou’s work.

  • Adopting a modest aesthetic that doesn’t distract from the story’s meditative drift (scenes were written based on Ms. Song’s intimate knowledge of the performers), the cinematographers Guan Dong-pei and Zhou Wen-cao navigate the film’s tight spaces gracefully and unobtrusively. The result is a slight yet profound exploration of generational choices and our fear of living our parents’ lives.

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