The other day I watched Au Bonheur des Dames (1930). This is not a post about the film, but rather about a phenomenon I notice often but never bother to describe--
My memories of a film fade in various ways. What was vivid to me while watching the film disappears with time, and as days pass I may remember nothing of a film but its name and my general opinion. Sometimes a perfectly wonderful film finds no traction in my mind and slowly escapes from it entirely. At other times a merely adequate film will latch onto me and stick with me for years because of one outstanding detail -- be it an action, a character, an image...
With this post, I want to pay tribute to that One Image that stays with me. What is it that gives One Image so much potency? What thoughts, emotions, impressions do I compress into One Image that I cannot feel elsewhere in the film? Why should One Image -- only one image -- be the one to reecho through my soul? Why does every other image scatter into shadows? O inscrutable One Image, I pay tribute to your power--
This was the One Image from Au Bonheur des Dames. I knew it as soon as I saw it.
Once seen, forever recognized. Does anybody else experience this One Image? How do films impress themselves in your memory? How does your memory of a film change?
I do not know why I have never asked these questions seriously before; I hope to get some good answers.