What does a man do when he is alone in his mind? How can one live his life without thinking about death? These are the two questions we are trying to answer after watching ‘Memento Mori.’ In Thomas J. Hird’s experimental short, life is not as easy as we know it. The protagonist lives in a ‘groundhog day’ like fashion, having some bits of his life repeating on and on again, coming back and haunting him. As the narrative goes by, it seems like he gets some outside help to put his life together, but it is hard when all you see is the darkness of the night, and maybe here and there some lights that are not the ones you’d expect. When the hand comes directed to the protagonist, and the lights are slowly fading, we fully understand the whole meaning of this short, and how deep and profound it is.
Over the years, we have been given the chance to come across many films regarding the passage between life and death, and most of the time, they were fiction shorts that relied more on a story to be told correctly than on the simple, yet extremely meaningful gestures. In Hird’s short experimental film, the dialogue gets replaced with low-paced action while the flashy score is left aside, making room to the atmospheric vibe with the lo-fi natural noise and the overall dark backdrop. This way, everything you need to know is unveiled in front of you, waiting to be absorbed by the hungry minds.
It’s times like these of profound uncertainty when we look deep inside ourselves, rather than at the outside world and realize how much we need the self-reflection. In ‘Memento Mori’ we found the same profound vibes we’ve only experienced in ‘Sunny Day Real Estate’s’ 1994 album, ‘Diary,’ especially in the lyrics of the song ‘Seven’ – “The mirrors lie, those aren’t my eyes/ Destroy them, raise my hand/ Reflected in savage shards/ A new face, a soul reborn.” In both cases, the protagonist is willing to rebel against something in a Hail Marry attempt to save what can be saved. The result is not always the one expected, but at least the ends justify the means.
Review written by Vlad A.G