Memory and Imagination in Film: Gerry and Dead Man



This article suggests that, very often, the two faculties – memory and imagination, often separated in philosophical thought – are but one in the case of artistic creation. Readers or spectators are active with their memory, and therefore imaginative in their reception of the works of art: memory and imagination co-operate in the aesthetic effect. The chosen examples, in order to illustrate this co-operation, are two films, Gerry, by Gus Van Sant, in which one may observe an extraordinary use of the long take, and Dead Man by Jim Jarmusch, influenced by the aesthetic of photography. The relationship among different media is possible thanks to imaginative operations: from painting to literature, from music to poetry, from all the arts to cinema and from cinema to cinema.