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Director Christopher Nolan’s “Memento” has turned out to be the runaway indie hit of 2001, so the local press were out in force for his press conference. It’s not every day that a talent blindsides viewers with such an accomplished and innovative work. In person, Nolan seemed a bit dry for someone who has made such a brain-boggler of a film, but he was also refreshingly thoughtful and modest in his remarks, quick to credit his writer-brother Jonah with the origin of the film’s idea.

It occurred to me that the best way to withhold from the audience the knowledge that is withheld from the protagonist [because of his condition] is to basically tell the story backward. That’s the reason for the structure of the film, to deny the audience the same information that Leonard is denied because of his inability to make new memories. I wanted to try and give the audience the experience of not being able to remember who this person is who claims to know him, and in that way re-awaken some of the paranoia and uncertainly that the film noir genre used to embody.

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