The Power and Powerlessness of Memory Curation: “The Fabelmans” vs. “Aftersun”

Movie poster for "The Fabelmans", one of several in an outdoor grid.

Another one from the Department of the Power of Movies. If you’ve seen it, you’ll note the horizon is on the bottom.

Much bandwidth has been devoted to the movies-about-moviemaking subgenre that feels as if it’s relatively exploded here in the later pandemic years. Filmmakers are looking back on their lives with emphases on their relationship to movies and on their upbringing, often in that order. Given the perpetually precarious state of the world, everyone with at least a rudimentary level of self-awareness is in a reflective mood nowadays. Some of their stories are like a live feed staged in their mind palace, replete with witty host repartee and snacks. Others are more like candid self-therapy sessions, surveying the damage of years past and the few clues they still have on hand to decipher What It All Meant. The results among these motion-memoirs rely on whatever footage they’ve collected that hasn’t decayed like so much neglected celluloid, and on their level of control over the final cut.

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