Author: Dani Parker

Patterns for Clarity, Narrative for Style. An Analysis of the Cinematic Techniques used in ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND

In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Michel Gondry uses patterns enhanced by the cinematic techniques of Joel’s memories to make sense of the complicated narrative he presents. With so many themes, elements of symbolism, and the creative structure, these patterns help to guide the viewer and reinforce the lesson he wants the viewer to take from Joel’s story. Gondry allows the viewer to sympathize with Joel and even encourages them to contemplate their own memories. Joel strips away his good, bad, and ugly memories, revealing a sense of regret that the viewer is then encouraged to respond to. Slowly and meticulously, Gondry uncovers the underlying sorrow (through mise-en-scène, cinematography, sound, and editing), and palpable sense of tragedy (through the circular narrative) in Joel’s memories to show the viewer the tragedy of love and loss. Apparent throughout the film, Gondry uses patterns in the mise-en-scène and cinematography to keep the viewer in tune with Joel’s thought process and mentality. Even when it is not a memory, the focus is still on Joel and his reactions …

Dani Parker is a rising junior and a Cinema Studies major.