Experimental Memoir in Cinema
//////Presenting by Mahdis Mohammadi
Session Two: Agnès Varda
(French film director, photographer and artist)
Bidar School for Art and Literature, January 27, 2020

Cinematic depiction of memory has been an intriguing subject since the onset of cinema. However, most existing movies, primarily created by cinematographers, directors, camera operators, businessmen, and occasionally by royalty, have largely been limited to chronologically documenting events. In the 1920s, Archie Stewart was among the first to film ordinary moments of his personal life with an amateur camera. Through this process of self-filming, he concluded that conventional cinematic rules and formulas could not capture the immediacy of the moment. Thus, he imparted a significant principle to future filmmakers: to authentically document the simplest aspects of daily life while imbuing them with quality and uniqueness, creative visual styles are essential. Consequently, the filming of daily memories became intertwined with experimental cinema, characterized by its marginal, independent, pioneering, underground, creative, non-mainstream, and avant-garde approaches, all of which endeavor in diverse ways to preserve the ordinary yet profound emotions of everyday life.

Our parents may have been the last generation without recorded motion pictures from their childhood or youth, relying instead on words to preserve memories. Today, however, cameras are ubiquitous, allowing anyone to document their memories in visual form. Each person has a life, each life has memories, and in our time, each memory is often captured as an image. Documenting your life memories is a familiar refrain in mobile phone and camera advertisements. But is it really that simple to document one’s life memories? Can each film capture the essence of a unique moment that is fleeting in itself?