Underground Film Journal

Posted In » Online Cinema

Experimental Film: Memento Mori

By Mike Everleth ⋅ June 4, 2013

When the time comes for your life to flash before your eyes, the experience might look surprisingly similar to Dan Browne‘s epic cacophony of sounds and images, memento mori. The film begins with a few flashes of easily distinguishable pictures — home snapshots, landscape photos, arty urban shots — but then rapidly evolves into a searing melange of images layered upon each other and edited at a frighteningly fast pace.

Because each image in the film’s entire thirty-minute runtime burns into the screen for only fractions of a second, only a few scant of them can be processed in the brain’s short-term memory before they are completely pushed away and faded into the background of time. Yet, the accumulation of images leaves the lasting impression that the film is telling the story of a journey.

Close-up of a woman with an abstract image projected on her face

In addition to the emotional journey that the images appear to be recalling, there is the physical journey of the film being divided up in sections, ones that present natural landscapes while others rely predominantly on urban experiences.

At the same time, Browne layers in a thick discordant soundtrack, with flashes of audibly comprehensible blips and staccato of language, that are unrelated to the corresponding images, which has the effect of the viewer alternately paying inscrutable attention to each and both at separate times throughout the entire runtime.

A complex and engaging work, memento mori rewards those who give of themselves to the feast of images and audio bursting on-screen.

The film won the Deluxe Cinematic Vision Award at the 2013 Images Festival.