Innocence of Memories takes as its peculiar part-fact, part-fictional subject Orhan Pamuk's Museum of Innocence: a novel written by him, and running parallel to his own Istanbul museum of the same name, which it inspired.
The imagined narrator guides the viewer on a realistic evocation of the city, as Gee's sweeping camera leads us through alleyways and down back streets. Intrigued, we find ourselves craning necks to see around corners and through lamplit streets. Nothing is sugar coated: the modern city is laid up to scrutiny, in all its dirt and its poverty.
Following a curious internal spiral into Pamuk's mind and his relationship with Istanbul, Innocence of Memories is a fascinating and original piece of storytelling. Narrating the plot of the novel whilst simultaneously guiding the viewer through rooms and cabinets in the museum, Gee's documentary achieves the rare feat of situating its viewers securely in time and place, whilst evoking emotion as a mesmerising and reflective work of art.
Real figures from the streets of Istanbul mingle their testament with that of fictional characters from Pamuk's novel.
At the same time, Gee and Pamuk's film is a moving evocation of forbidden desire, as its protagonist and lover Kemal Baycollects endless objects from Fusun, the object of his love. Little trinkets, cigarette butts and combs are hoarded away and stowed, first in the house then in the museum; anything that Fusun might have touched, that might evoke her. As these little curiosities fill the walls and cases of the museum, so do they fill the screen with a vivid sense of 1950s Istanbul.
An intriguing commingling of art and reality, like Pamuk's own 'museums of Innocence', Grant Gee's Innocence of Memories manages to hinge a work of fiction in a very real sense of place.
|What||Innocence of Memories film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Acton Town (underground)|
29 Jan 16 – 31 Mar 16, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Price||£ determined by cinema|