Daily Arts Writer Natalie Gadbois sat down with Facility and Programming Manager Brian Hunt of Ann Arbor’s State Theater to discuss the upcoming midnight screening of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”
Natalie: What made you choose “Eternal Sunshine” for a midnight movie?
Brian: It felt kind of perfect to have this very romantic but very un-romantic movie, right after Valentine’s Day. It’s also a film that we have gotten a lot of people asking us to show, so it cosmically worked out for us.
Natalie: I don’t know movies from this time as well as some, but it seems to me like this movie kind of led into the genre of memory warped, twisted but realistic films, the “Inception” type of stuff.
Brian: I could agree with that. I think that that movie came out at a time when young Hollywood — which I think is a stupid term — was really into self-reflection, and you see these young directors working with talent and taking chances on movies. I’m not going to sit here and say that “Eternal Sunshine” is the great love story of our generation, there are other movies that have come out that have made really honest, really to-the-point looks at the way being young and being in love is like. If you could actually go back and erase your mind, everyone would do it. In terms of the zeitgeist of what was going on at the moment, it seems like that movie was in the right place at the right time for that audience. You had Generation X-ers and Millennials that were coming into their own, and this was the film for them, representing emotionally what was going on in their lives. You can watch a classic romance movie and it will still mean something 50 years later, but it will probably mean more in it’s time.
Natalie: I agree with that, and it’s very unique and different from all the other love stories, but it still has that grounding in boy-meets-girl and falls in love sort of mentality.
Brian: And I think that there is something to be said about the way “Eternal Sunshine” is filmed. There is a certain magic to it, a certain sleight of hand, in terms of the actual scenes in the movie. And it lends itself to how the movie is viewed. There is this scene where Jim Carrey is a little kid, but he actually is a mini-sized Jim Carrey and there is something about the magic of that, that contrasts with what you said, about the magic about being in love again. There is a lot of crossover between that traditional romance, and the execution of the film. That scene is so visceral about the way your brain remembers being a little kid, and the way parents talk and they felt around you. I think that’s probably my favorite scene. Although I do like the stuff of them on the beach, all the tender, surreal moments.
Natalie:And that sense of trying to figure out is this in the past, or recreating the memory he had, or is it all in his mind.
Brian: Exactly. That movie came out around the same time as “Memento,” so it reflects more on that theme of struggling with your past and your future at the same time.
Natalie: It’s one of my all-time favorite movies.
Brian: I love it. I do think it probably means a lot to somebody my age who saw it when they were 20 or 21, than to people who are now in their fifties. It resonated so much with that audience. I mean everyone thinks “Oh, it sucks to break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend,” but your brain goes through a process, and I think this film captured that process.