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Gondry, M. (2007). The Return of the Erased: Memory and Forgetfulness in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind (2004). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 88(4):1071-1082.

(2007). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 88(4):1071-1082

Film Essay

The Return of the Erased: Memory and Forgetfulness in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind (2004)

Review by:
Director: Michel Gondry

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind is a film about remembering and forgetting loss. This essay reads the film as an examination of mourning and melancholia, which are distinct ways of remembering and forgetting both a love object and its loss. Freud distinguished mourning from its pathological counterpart, melancholia, claiming that there is a normal way to grieve, mourning, and its degeneration into an abnormal pattern, melancholia. The author aims to make two points: firstly, that both processes are characterized by ambivalence and identification and therefore have some commonalities; secondly, that there is a difference between the two processes that is less apparent than the ones discussed by Freud. This is the difference between remembering a good and a bad object. Following Klein the author argues that this is a crucial qualitative difference between mourning and melancholia. She concludes that a central issue in grieving is not forgetting but remembering well.

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