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Mind Mapping and Storyboarding in Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000)
《記憶拼圖》被歸類為「新黑色電影」 (neo-noir)， 以復仇為故事主軸。主角藍納‧薛比 (Leonard Shelby)〈蓋‧皮爾斯主演〉(Guy Pearce)失去儲存短暫性記憶的能力，因此利用拍立得「相片」和「紋身」調查妻子的謀殺案，並成為影響故事發展的重要關鍵。本文將深入探討上述兩大主題，分析導演如何以這兩種媒介敘述本故事。
The subject of this thesis focuses on the movie Memento (2000) directed by the British film director, Christopher Nolan, one of the most influential film directors in the twenty-first century. Nolan became known and acclaimed in the film industry since his debut feature Following released in 1998. But it is with Memento and its ambiguous narrative that his fame increased durably. He showcases the ability to create ambiguous narratives which further prompt the spectators to question and to investigate into his works. Inspired and influenced by his contribution and influences I would like to shed more light on his œuvre. “Memento” is a term that refers to “something that is kept as a reminder of a person, place or thing.” It originates from Latin, and literally means “to remember.” “Memento” illustrates the act of “remembering,” and additionally represents a device or an object used to remember something, such as a memo. The term embodies the central concept of the film, in which Leonard Shelby, the main protagonist suffers from the loss of his short-term memory. In order to remember to avenge from the loss of his wife, he uses Polaroid photographs and inscribes tattoos on his body to assist him in his investigation. Since, photography and tattoo play significant roles in the film, it will be necessary to analyze their functioning in the structure of the movie. This thesis will discuss these two issues, and further relate them to other perspectives introduced as follows. Chapter one discusses how Nolan exploits photography as a means to construct a story. We will first demonstrate that the way the protagonist is constructing his thinking and reconstructing his loss of memories through the display of photos on a map is analogous to the thinking method – of “mind mapping.” The narrative structure of Memento has two different time lines. Nolan provides the audience with the same chaotic experience as that lived by the main protagonist. Another narrative structure is delicately presented in the protagonist’s way of mapping his investigation through photographs pinned on the wall of his motel room, a technique, as we will show, that is not that far from the principles of storyboarding. Since the whole movie plays on narrative and visual ambiguities, it will be necessary to analyze how the filmmaker exploits specific common places such as those related to the reliability of pictures on which the protagonist relies to lead his investigation. Another mnemonic device the protagonist mainly uses is the tattoos inscribed on his body. In the second chapter, I will discuss how the protagonist’s tattoos are exploited in the film. Inscribed all over his upper body and thighs, Leonard uses them as personal memos to help his memory problem and as an aid in the assault case investigation. Ironically, the tattoos’ disorganized and multifaceted nature makes them complex to understand. I will first examine the two significant inscriptions Nolan uses to create ambiguous narratives based on their meanings. When further examining Leonard’s tattoos, we realize that each of them tells different stories of the bearer. It showcases that tattoos have a narrative quality, and so does the photography as discussed in the first chapter. In the second part of the chapter, I will then draw the attention to the tattooing status in history. When speaking to the notion of tattooing, it often showcases the behavior of deviance, or its ornamental quality in the history, tribal culture and pop culture. The categorization of tattooing thus bears a veiled status and is fraught with obscurity. Beyond historical and cultural contexts, the overall ambiguity of tattoos can be identified in the character of Nolan and the movie Memento as a whole.
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