Thursday 16 June 2011

Films About Ghosts

The woman next to me on the train has the same perfume as my ex-girlfriend. I've not been around this smell in three years. 

The memories come flooding back of the times that smell was most potent. Some of those were very intimate, but others were a gust of wind when we walked by the sea, or when she shuffled around trying to get comfortable in the car.

Those memories are just like movies. Little pieces of cinema in my mind. The only difference being the odours. You can smell a memory. I'm still on the train and this woman has no idea she's sent me tripping back to the past.

Films are strange because once they're done, that's it. You can go back again and again but you're rewatching the same thing.

Memories are different. They fade. They're not Blu-ray, they're old VHS copies. They wear out.

With a movie you believe that Harry and Sally stay together, maybe Alvy and Annie hold on to something.

In real life you're left with a smell. She's somewhere else now, and you're on a train dreaming of years that died long ago. They are so real, yet somehow feel like they never existed at all. They're just some movie you watched.

"If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts" -Adam Duritz.

Care to share?


  1. This is a particularly beautiful and thought provoking piece of writing.

    A lot of my memories are tied up in movies and even though I can't remember what I did yesterday, if I watch a film from twenty years ago I can vividly recall the cinema I watched it in and the people I watched it with.

    One of my favourite films resembles a phantom or a hazy dream, haunting my day as well as my dreams and just like my memories I often wonder if it exists at all.

  2. Weirdly enough, some of my strongest emotional memories will come from remembering the first time I watched a movie, and how I felt, and I'll go back and watch the movie and try to re-create the memory, if that makes sense. It rarely works, so I don't try it nearly as often I as used to, but.... isn't that kind of what we do when we find out our friends or loved ones haven't seen our Absolute Favorite Movie of all time? We sit them down and sort of re-live vicariously through them what we went through the first time Han Solo shot first or that amazing twist in Fight Club. :)

  3. These movies are just for provoking unseen fantasies of humans..


  4. I'm fascinated by the connection between smell and memory. A long time ago I found myself following a man I didn't know at a train station because he wore the aftershave of an ex of mine. It was an unconscious thing, I was so wrapped up in the memories the smell had reminded me off I forgot where I was going or what I was doing.

    I really like the your ideas of film and how they stay in our memories compared to other memories which fade in time.

    Another well written and thought provoking post.

  5. This post made me tear up a bit. My late mother used to wear the same kind of perfume (I believe it was one from Estee Lauder) that became sort of part of her. After she died, weeks after her death, every time I went to her room that scent would still be there. Scent is a powerful thing indeed.