Memory believes before knowing remembers.

“Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.”
—William Faulkner, Light in August

I wrote this treatment before logging all the footage of the film. Now that I’ve finished syncing all the shots and organizing everything I find that my treatment includes several beautifully conceived shots that were, unfortunately, never filmed. In fact I mention more than one scene that doesn’t exist at all. All moments that would be nice to have, of course, for storytelling purposes.

I’m really more amused and fascinated by this than upset. To me it’s just another example of how memory can refashion the past so that, looking back, everything feels smoother and tidier. When you get the opportunity to revisit what actually happened, to look at the bare facts of the past, more often than not you find that things were messy, incomplete, and accidental. But personally I wouldn’t want it any other way. As Robert Altman once said, the best parts in any movie are the accidents.

(Two of the most interesting books I’ve read in the past year were Permanent Present Tense, by Suzanne Corkin, and Pieces of Light, by Charles Fernyhough.)

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