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Repeat Viewings Revisited: Emotions, Memory, and Memento

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Using the particular example of Memento (2001), this essay investigates the capacity for films to maintain emotional potency upon repeat viewings. Subtle emotion markers in the film - such as facial expressions and its score - collaborate with the plot to create a mood of sadness that may escalate into more powerful emotion. Because these same markers consistently appear during scenes of high emotion, the cues themselves become associated with sadness, leading the viewer to experience grief each time they are encountered more as an unconscious, learned response rather than a direct reaction to the film. As a result, though the film may have become familiar, it may retain its emotional potential on subsequent viewings.
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Keywords: Memento; emotion; memory; mood-cue approach; repeat viewings

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Connecticut

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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