Thursday 16 February 2017

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

It's been a few years since I watched this film, one with the most intriguing title; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. (Trailer: This is a line from the epic poem Eloisa to Abelard by Alexander Pope. I was in the mood for it because it's a story about Valentines Day, which has just past. I'm also in a similar situation to the main character, a man called Joel Barrish, in that I've been recently estranged from my lover. It's true that Ustane and I split up over three months ago, but we were together eight years so three months feels recent. This is the first Valentines Day since we met that she's not with me, so I hope you'll sympathize if it affects me. Although I'm not as cynical as Joel when he says: "a holiday invented by greetings cards manufacturers to make people feel like crap!" The setting is contemporary New York City USA. I don't know why so many movies are set in that one place. It must be hard to walk the streets of the Big Apple without bumping into a film crew. Joel is played by Jim Carrey in one of his best non-comedic roles. Joel has split up with his girlfriend Clementine, played by Kate Winslet with a performance that almost won her an Oscar. This is where a science fictional element comes in because both Joel and Clementine have their memory of each other erased. This is done by a company appropriately called "Lacuna Inc" using a pseudoscientific method that is not explored in detail. The process goes: first the customer must collect all the objects that they associate with the person or event they want to forget and bring them to the Lacuna office. Then the two rather nerdy and immature technicians make a "map" of the memory by brain-scanning the patient as they look at the objects. Lacuna than disposes of the objects so the patient won't find them lying around their home and wonder what they are. All the customer then has to do is go home and take some medication that renders them unconscious overnight and the technicians come into their bedroom and erase the memories as they sleep. All their mutual acquaintances are sent letters from Lacuna explaining what has been done and asking them not to discuss the matter with the customer. Most of the action takes place in the surreal dreams of Joel as his memories of Clementine are annihilated one by one. His dreams quickly become lucid and he realizes what is happening. He even opens his eyes and sees the technicians at work, but he can't move or speak because the process has a paralyzing effect. He then realizes that his memories of his lost love include a lot of joy as well as pain. He regrets that he agreed to the memory erasure and realizes that it was just an instinctive reaction to his hurt and anger at their split. He desperately longs to stop the process and tries as hard as he can, but he fails. It's a very moving part of the story. However, during one of his last memories of Clementine, she whispers to him the words: "Meet me in Montauk." There must have been some kind of telepathic event going on there because they both do. They meet again, this time believing they are total strangers, discover their lost mutual history and reconcile.
Unlike Joel and Clementine, Ustane and I parted with goodwill. Although I miss her, especially at this time of year, I feel no animosity towards her. I treasure the memories of our relationship enormously and would hate to lose them. However I know that human memory is fragile. It can be weakened and distorted very easily. Sometimes this take place in significant ways, as with the "Mandela Effect", see background links below. Sometimes memory loss happens naturally, with the passage of time or tragic disorders of the brain like Alzheimer's disease; but it can indeed be rendered artificially. One of the goals of the various government mind control projects is to eliminate and/or falsify human memory. They do this using various systems. One is media propaganda. As in George Orwell's 1984 in which the people really do believe Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, modern media services can convince us of similar things. The best example relates to Muammar Gaddafi, the president of Libya for forty-three years. First he was presented as a bad guy, then a good guy and then a bad guy again. Behind that are mind control methods using direct biological interventions like drugs, electronic implants and surgical modification of the brain. This idea might sound extreme and unlikely, but it's not, it's real; see background links at the bottom. It's odd that in a film about mind control part of it should be set in Montauk. Montauk is a small seaside town on the eastern tip of Long Island, New York USA, but it is home to the disused military base Camp Hero. In the early 1980's people such as Preston Nichols, Stewart Swerdlow and Al Bielik began to talk of an underground psychological and psychotronic warfare research facility beneath Camp Hero. This was predictably dismissed as a "conspiracy theory", yet when The Discovery Channel did an investigation there they found flooded tunnels in the exact spot the witnesses said they could be found. It makes me wonder where film makers, even mainstream ones, get their ideas from. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is an original, fun and thought-provoking film. I really enjoyed it.

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