Remember

Atom Egoyan’s film was actually a 2015 release but it had a delayed outing in the UK, and I’ve only just come across it, so here it is. The film details Alzheimer’s sufferer Christopher Plummer on a revenge road trip across North America, co-ordinated by his fellow old-homes resident Martin Landau. Both are survivors of Auschwitz, and four individuals have been identified as the possible Nazi commander who killed their families. There is not enough evidence to prosecute, but Landau’s Max assures Plummer’s Zef that he will recognise him.

In my review of Son of Saul I touched upon the dilemma facing Holocaust movies – the demands of the subject are incompatible with the requirements of cinema. Son of Saul tackles this through cinematography, immersing us directly in Auschwitz. Remember addresses it by bowing to the narrative arc of cinema, and satisfying these needs to create an engaging, intelligent and tense road movie. It creates this film effectively first of all, and this allows the layers of further mean to be developed. These include the nature of memory, and our identity. Most significantly, we will soon be in a time when there are no Holocaust survivors left – how we remember, and what we as a society choose to remember is the question this film raises.

It does this deftly, and without a heavy touch. You can watch it as an enjoyable, unusual thriller and be satisfied. Nabakov argued thats “Nothing is more boring or more unfair to the author than starting to read, say, Madame Bovary, with the preconceived notion that is a denunciation of the bourgeoisie…we should study that new world… having no obvious connection with the worlds we already know. When this new world has been closely studied, then and only then let us examine its links with other worlds’. The artefact has to stand on its own before we consider the meaning and intentions it raises. Remember does this perfectly.

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