It happens that every once in a while (who am I kidding, once in a couple of months) I attend to this movie. Again. It is seriously my all-time favorite, hands down.
I thought I'd honor Charlie Kaufman with some words, even though I'd prefer letting the movie speak for itself. Kaufman creates META experiences (and he's getting laughed at for it, say here). He is what you can call human, all too human. He manages to take grip of the MOST humane characteristics exists and somehow transpose them into perfect dialogues, monologues and meaningful silences.
In Eternal Sunshine, the forgetful are blessed, for they get the better even of their blunders. Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski (played by wonderful Jim Carrey & Kate Winslet) have met before. They do not recall ever meeting, but something in their awkward get together at the freezing montauk beach seems just about right. Only Joel & Clementine HAVE met before. Hell, they've had an entire relationship.
The breakup was so intense, Clem decides to erase Joel. Yes, in the world of Kaufman it is possible to erase a bad experience. You just gather whatever memories of that person, take a sleeping pill, and Lacuna's technician will put a helmet on your head and trace the networks which entangle your love.
Freud, in his writings Mourning and Melancholia, suggests that the mourning process is fishing all memories of the dead, in order to detach from them safely, in a supporting environment (the Jewish Shiv'a, say); making the person a memory. The failure in doing so, will result in melancholia, the object is not cathected, our libidinal energy is still infected and invested with it. In light of these ideas, Kaufman presents his idea of 'forgetting' – Joel needs to collect all belongings which remind him of Clem. These items will be mapped to neuronal networks and will undergo total cleansing of memory. I admire Kaufman, I really do.
It is not the first collaboration of Kaufman and Gondry. Another underestimated masterpiece precedes it: Human Nature. I'll try and dedicate a post for it, sometime in the near future. Till then…