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12 October 2003 @ 01:10 pm
tiny movie blather, memories  
"Sisters" really is an interesting old horror movie, not the least for its non-gratuitous use of split-screen effects and its sly insertion of contemporary socio-political conflicts into moments of highest tension--the eyewitness to the murder being a columnist who writes virulent anti-cop tirades and then needs to report the crime to the police. Very cool.

Some things lodge in our consciousness like thorns--Harlan Ellison's story "Whimper of Whipped Dogs," based on the NYC Kitty Genovese murder, has been a disturbing echo for twenty years now. Something about the time period and the incident in "Sisters" makes me think of it.

Oh my god--shot of a "Tab" cola can in the fridge! I'm immediately transported to the early seventies. I was born in 1969, by the way, and here's something that freaks me out heartily: reading the birth dates of movies stars who were born in 1980 or later. I find it hard to accept that the pretty young people I watch are *that* young. Our family used to have black vinyl couches. I'm just saying. The first two songs to make an impression on my childhood memory: "Daniel" by Elton John and "American Pie" by Don McLean.

The memories from childhood seem like something from a stranger's life. I remember eating vinegar on french fries in a park in Maine at night, with a tangle of tree branches above, in the black cool fall.

Another memory: bites of an exquisite cheeseburger at a beach kiosk, not long after I'd been feeling carsick. Apparently the memory of perfect taste after misery can make a deep impression.

Chocolate sugar-covered doughnuts from a box my dad bought at a supermarket, eaten as we drove to the harbor in downtown Bath, and I've never found any doughnuts like them since.

Teaching myself the opening bars of "Greensleaves" on a piano in the retirement home my grandmother stayed in--I can't believe I just remembered that. It's been so long.

Having my photo taken with Santa Claus at a ski resort in Vermont, on a slope in snowy winter with my cousin and aunt. Ski resort? Maybe it was one of those special Christmas villages you bring children to. But I can't remember anything else--why was I there? How old was I?

Sliding down a huge slide at a carnival, somewhere in Maine, at night--enormously tall slide, and I am completely alone and loosened from my mother's hands as I speed toward the bottom on some kind of mat.

The auction where my parents bought my childhood bed, a painted elaborate piece of furniture.

My father's Bath, Maine office when I was very little: black and white flocked wallpaper, the bust of the fisherman, the oil painting of a whale hunt. I am sitting on the couch waiting for something.

There's something to residual memories, a chemical signature that is evoked with recollection. You can describe the memories but they will carry no significance for anyone but you. It's nothing you can pin down, just: this was my life.

I can't believe how much disconnection there is between then and now. I don't really feel that who I am came of what I was. Nothing makes sense.
 
 
 
anonymous_sibyl on October 12th, 2003 01:43 pm (UTC)
There's something to residual memories, a chemical signature that is evoked with recollection. You can describe the memories but they will carry no significance for anyone but you. It's nothing you can pin down, just: this was my life.

I'm taking a memoir class this semester and I'm sorting through my childhood memories the same way you are right now. And I'm coming to the same conclusion: none of it made me. There are so few "events" that I can look at and say "that, right there, that changed me."

I was born in 1968 and grew up in New England myself. Something you said reminded me of one of my favorite childhood "adventures." Ever go to StoryLand?
KJVkjv31 on October 12th, 2003 08:16 pm (UTC)
'Sisters' is great, great GREAT.
Brian De Palma was really cooking between 'Sisters' and 'Blow Out'. The only one of his films from that period that I do not own on DVD is his first real Hitchcock riff called 'Obsession' with Cliff Robertson.

I am also big into Margot Kidder between 1973 and 1980 and love her to death in 'Sisters'. Also, De Palma is the only director who has ever used Charles Durning properly, IMO.

This is making me want to haul out my De Palma DVDs. I've got Scarface rented this weekend, so maybe I'll do a retrospective...

... Sorry to be a De Palma bore, A.
kemelios on October 13th, 2003 06:10 am (UTC)
I loved this entry.