Feel like revisiting Eternal Sunshine? Cinephilia & Beyond takes a look back at the film, and it's a great piece with some old interview excerpts with the cast and crew, a stack of stills from the film and behind-the-scenes clips, even Leigh Singer's Eternal Sunsets video that I posted recently, and Eliot Rausch's brilliant What I Have To Offer--the short film adapted from Charlie's BAFTA lecture.

Having heard his friend complain about her boyfriend for what seemed to be a hundredth time, French artist Pierre Bismuth asked her if she would erase him from her memory if such an option was at her disposal. He soon passed this idea to his friend and filmmaker Michel Gondry, who liked the sound of it and discussed it with Charlie Kaufman, with whom he worked on Human Nature. From a simple discussion in a cafe, therefore, sprung out a film that many believe to be one of the very finest produced in this century. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a heartbreaking yet beautiful, insightful and above all hopeful movie about love, memory and loss, is literally unlike anything we’ve seen before or since. [...]

A solid box office success at the time of its release and the Academy Award champion in the Best Original Screenplay category, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a film you cannot cut out of your heart once you let it in. A monumentally important screenplay. Dear every screenwriter/filmmaker, read Charlie Kaufman’s screenplay for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind[...]

One small thing jumped out at me, probably of interest to no one else: a snippet from an interview with the film's editor, Valdis Oskarsdottir. Years ago, someone sent me a link to a foreign-language article (Icelandic? can't remember) and they told me there was an implication in there that Oskarsdottir's experience on the film wasn't 100% fun, that there was some tension. Later, Oskarsdottir emailed me herself and said that was a poor translation. So now here's this excerpt from a different interview:

What was your dynamic in the editing room?
He isn’t the most patient man I know. He couldn’t sit still. Sometimes he’d sit on the sofa in the editing room behind my back and talk—I couldn’t hear him because I was working, and he’d get really pissed if I wouldn’t answer him. Sometimes when he was talking I’d stop and turn around and miss what he’d said, and he’d say to the producer ‘I hate it. She doesn’t answer me and then she rolls her eyes.’ And I was like, ‘How can he see that? He’s behind me!’ It took a while to explain to him that when I was working, I couldn’t hear him.

Would you work with him again?
No, I don’t think so. And I don’t think he’d ever want to work with me. (Source)

Big thanks to Cristian for the find!

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 eternal sunshine mentorless

On Mentorless, there's a great post about Eternal Sunshine's cinematography, featuring a ton of great stills from the film.

Ellen Kuras, an ex-sociology student turned cinematographer while working on a documentary, handled with perfection the multiple moods, from present time to flash backs, to dreams, to nightmares, to erased memories, making them all blend into one coherent story. Needless to say, production designer Dan Leigh and editor Valdis Oskarsdottir (and their teams) are equally key contributors, but Kuras managed to give life to the camera in a rarely seen way so that what we see is what the characters feel, with all the changes and variations that implies. (Source)

The article's two years old, but it's new to me. Thanks to Cristian for the find!

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Charlie finds a spot in the BBC's "100 Greatest American Films" list, according to a new poll of film critics around the world. Eternal Sunshine grabbed the #87 spot, wedged between West Side Story and The Lion King. Gone With The Wind is in #97. Here's the Top 10, and you can click through for the rest of the list:

10. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
9. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
8. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
7. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)
6. Sunrise (FW Murnau, 1927)
5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
3. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
2. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
1. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) (Source)

Thanks to Tim!

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8-Bit Cinema have dared to tackle a Charlie Kaufman film! It's 4 minutes of rapid melancholic beauty.

I would play the hell out of that game. Thanks to Cristian for the heads up!

I have a couple other things to post, too. I'll get onto those things and those posts soonly.

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In an ongoing effort to traumatise mice and then erase their bad memories, scientists have gone towards the light. I don't know what I'm saying. Here's Lisa Winter at IFLScience with a better explanation:

For sufferers of PTSD, bad memories can severely interrupt day-to-day life; episodic memories of specific places, people, or events can trigger insurmountable fear. Scientists though have found a way to target specific memories in mice and erase them using light, making it conceivable that conditions like PTSD might be thing of the past one day. Additionally, they proved a 40-year-old theory about how episodic memories are stored and retrieved in the brain.


While it's not likely that this will be used to create an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-like memory eraser, verifying how memories are stored and retrieved could open up possibilities for treatments for those experiencing memory loss or PTSD at some point down the road. (Source)

Thanks to Cristian for this one!

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A.V. Club have a feature called "Random Roles," in which they "talk to actors about the characters who defined their careers." Today they're talking to Elijah Wood, and one of the films they ask about is Eternal Sunshine.

The opportunity to work with Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman was an absolute dream. It’s literally a movie that I would’ve wanted to do anything to be a part of any aspect of it. [Laughs.] I’ve always loved Kaufman’s writing, and I’ve been a major fan of Michel’s work in music videos as well as the movie he first collaborated with Charlie on, Human Nature.


I can remember specifically that there’s a sequence in the movie where Jim [Carrey] is moving from memory to memory, and he leaves a house, walks down a hall, walks into a doctor’s office, sees himself talking to the doctor, and then runs out of the office. Well, that was all one shot, and we did it—I think we did maybe 16 takes, which is actually not bad considering how complicated that was. And it was one of those moments that was a real uniter of the crew and everyone, this sense of, “We can literally watch a playback and see it all happen in camera,” and it was so extraordinary. I remember the sort of celebratory feel of everybody at having accomplished that, and also, I think, a realization of the kind of movie we were making and a really obvious realization of Michel’s vision. It was really special. It was awesome. (Source)

Such a great movie.

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is TEN YEARS OLD. Before we erase that realisation from our minds and curl up into an aging ball of dismay, let's take a wander over to Row 3, where their Friday One Sheet column in March was dedicated to Eternal Sunshine and a bunch of cool, inspired posters. Such as this one:


You can find more here!

Thanks to Julie.

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Come January 1st, a slew of films will be on Netflix's chopping block. Eternal Sunshine and Being John Malkovich are among them.

Says Gizmodo's Brian Barrett:

Here's a list of the very best of the movies that'll be gone in 2014.

While Netflix has made it much harder to find out when movies expire, some Reddit sleuths have picked out an extensive crop of chopping-block titles. You can see the date the license is up yourself by adding them to your queue. Remember that just because they're going now doesn't mean they're never coming back. But with nearly a week of daylight between now and when they're gone, why take that chance?


A more complete list is on Reddit.

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Eternal is Daniel Fish's new installation at the Incubator Arts Project in New York. It consists of two actors performing Eternal Sunshine's final scene, on a loop, for two hours. (The scene in the original film goes for around 4 minutes.) From the Incubator's website:

In August, Fish assembled a film crew to shoot [Thomas Jay] Ryan and [Christina] Rouner performing the final scene of the 2004 film ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND in a continuous loop for two hours — the only constraint: that they must keep going, no matter what happens. The unedited two channel video of their performance will be projected on adjacent screens. (Source)

Says the New York Times' Claudia La Rocco:

 Each performer occupies an individual screen in this elegantly spare two-channel video. As the two repeat and repeat and repeat (a total of 23 times), they remain faithful to the lines but shift everything else. Pacing, tone, body language, timing — it’s all up for grabs; one of the many cumulative pleasures of “Eternal” lies in seeing two actors improvise within the strict confines of Mr. Fish’s structure. They follow his rules while playing off each other (in one delightful go, they dissolve into hard laughter), finding freedom at unpredictable junctures. (Source)

You can find links and info and stuff here. Neat bit of trivia: Thomas Jay Ryan appeared in Eternal Sunshine, as Frank. Here's a trailer for Fish's Eternal:






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Here's a cool video by Buzz Image, a VFX firm, showing off some of their work on Eternal Sunshine. The video has been online for a couple of years, but Filmmaker IQ featured it on their site a few days ago: (Apparently Buzz is no longer around.)

The hallmark of good CGI is the same as good editing – if it’s done right, you shouldn’t even notice it’s there. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind had good CGI (Source)




On an unrelated note, you might've noticed we're doing our annual donation drive thingy, to help cover BCK's running costs. If you feel like helping out, you might want to kick in a couple of bucks via the link in the right-hand sidebar. Every bit's appreciated. :)

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Sticking with the theme of the previous update, today's "TED Talk" is delivered by MIT neuroscientists Steve Ramirez and Xu Liu, who "located a specific memory in a mouse’s brain and designed a system to activate and deactivate it at will."

“We began touching on these ideas mainly because all of us are huge fans of movies like Inception … For me personally, looking to Hollywood is a great source of questions.”

There's an accompanying post on the TED blog, about classic films that inspired real-life neuroscience. You-know-who gets the first mention.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Writer Charlie Kaufman and director Michel Gondry dreamed up this 2004 indie classic, in which a man (Jim Carey) and woman (Kate Winslet) attempt to erase the memory of their relationship. Ramirez mentions this movie in his Fast Company interview, pointing out a scientific flaw in it. “One thing Eternal Sunshine got wrong was localizing memories. There’s a scene with Elijah Wood, where they’re going into the brain, and [saying] ‘There’s a memory right here, it’s at point A in the brain’, and boom, they delete it. But in reality, memories are distributed throughout the brain,” he says. “There’s the memory of Kate Winslet, and then there’s the awful underlying, visceral feelings that Jim Carey has when he recalls Kate Winslet: the emotional undertones that color in that memory. The emotional undertones and the memory of Kate Winslet itself are largely mediated by separate brain systems. So you can imagine going into the brain, finding the brain cells that represent that dark feeling of a break-up, and inactivating only those.” (Source)

Here's the Talk itself.


Thanks to Julie and Sarah!



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This news is about a fortnight old. I apologise -- I've been busy with stuffs. Via io9:

In a study published in the latest issue of Science, a team of researchers led by MIT neuroscientist and Nobel Laureate Susumu Tonegawa demonstrates its ability to isolate and activate engrams in a mouse's memory-rich hippocampus. The researchers go on to implant false memories in the mouse's mind, causing it to recall experiences that have never actually occurred. (Source)

The mice soon began receiving tiny packages from Kirsten Dunst and are currently converging on Montauk.


On an unrelated note, you might've noticed we're doing our annual donation drive thingy, to help cover BCK's running costs. If you feel like helping out, you might want to kick in a couple of bucks via the link in the right-hand sidebar. Every bit's appreciated. :)

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