Thursday, March 21, 2013

Living in The Past

      Above is the video link to what was my midterm for my film class. Originally, as seen with the title, I was inspired by Mrs. Dalloway.  The quote comes from the beginning of the novel where Mrs. Dalloway is wishing she was different from herself. Wishing that she like her husband , "did things for themselves" (10) and finishing the quote, if she could have her life over she would even look different. Although my title comes directly from this passage, the concept of my short film takes from this initial mindset of Mrs. Dalloway's and draws on the in depth detail of Mrs. Dalloway's reminiscing of the people in her past. People like Peter Walsh and Sally, who she seems to constantly be wondering her initial question in regards to them, what if she had her life over again? What if she had married Peter Walsh, even thinking, "[i]f I had married him, this gaiety would have been mine all day!"(46).
       My film goes on to be a critique of what we, just like Mrs. Dalloway, are so often guilty of, living in the past rather than the present. Mrs. Dalloway seems to be struggling with her marriage to Richard but could this be on her part, simply a product of her constantly living in her past and wishing things to be different. I find myself asking every time I look back on the past and fill myself with regret, how much of my present am I missing out on while I do this? This missed present I will later regret as well and continue on in a never ending cycle.
     To highlight this idea of living in the past, I chose to critique the fact that almost whenever we see films that wish to portray a character thinking about the past in a conventional manner, the past scene is shown in black and white.  By reversing this method, I was aiming to show that while my character is reminiscing on the past she has actually becomes a part of it. Those past events in the photograph in turn become her present (hence them being in color). The buildup of short clips between the scenery of the park mixed with her past represent the surrounding environment that she has missed while being so absorbed in her past. Doing this film, I found it cool to think that through editing I was trying to convey visually what Woolf tries to do through writing, give a glimpse at the human thought process.
       I was initially not going to post this seeing as we have finished Mrs. Dalloway some time ago, however, it was the reading of A Sketch of One's Past that inspired me to do so. It was this idea of the power of memory, and quotes like, "I often wonder- that things we have felt with great intensity have an existence independent of our minds; are in fact still in existence?"  that made me wonder even more about the past and its role in our present (67). A Sketch of One's Past however quite contrary to my film made me look at the positive aspect of memory, for example, in our ability to recall our childhood, and the idea of how complete experiences from childhood can be compared to experiences that can be modified and almost diluted by our adult way of thinking.
      Overall, both Woolf texts have offered me different sides of the spectrum regarding the idea of our past and perhaps my next film will explore the positive :)


  1. Wow! This is so awesome, Quincey. I'm really excited that Mrs. Dalloway inspired you--and in the best possible way--because you created art that doesn't re-tell a story by Woolf, but art that stands on its own terms and is stronger because you've thought about ideas you saw in Woolf. Excellent.

    1. Thank you so much. Glad her inspiration in my work was able to shine through!

  2. Wonderful reflection on Woolf and the power of the past, as well as how the past leaks into and affects the present, creating a new present -- and even a new past. Like a picture within a picture within a picture ...