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Time and Silence: Julio Medems's Feminist Time Traveller

By John Foster


Supported by interviews I conducted with Julio Medem in Madrid during April 2008, this paper discusses the role of time, memory and the past in the films of the Spanish-Basque auteur. As a writer/director, Medem reveals a fascination with fate and destiny involving the reincarnation of characters, situations and events through history. The theme of the time odyssey underpins Medem’s work. \ud The paper will discuss the feminist themes in Medem’s films and their critique of male patriarchy, most recently delineated in his latest film Chaotica Ana (2007). The paper will focus upon this movie and the character of the time-travelling Ana and her reincarnation through history as a victim of male power and violence. I will discuss Medem’s use of cinema’s archival role in filming the work of his late sister, the artist Ana Medem, for inclusion in Chaotica Ana.\ud An important theme of my paper will be the role of the supermemory in Medem’s oeuvre: where characters construct memories of events they did not experience and where collective memory is refashioned as personal recollection. In his depiction of identical incidents reinterpreted by protagonists at different stages in their lives, Medem deploys the supermemory as narrative conceit. Narrative becomes an externalisation of trauma, a psychological construct posing as the definitive account of events until revealed as falsely created by protagonists who unwittingly embrace their counterfeit worlds as reality.\ud Medem’s use of doppelganger motifs links crucially with the theme of memory. Sequences filtered through dual perspectives engage with the experience of parallel universes and suggest that there is no mono-memory, no conclusive account of the time and the past in public or personal experience. Medem rejects absolutism and celebrates the variegated nature of collective and personal memory, the richness of multifarious recall. \u

Topics: ccms
Year: 2008
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