Scene from the film Photographic Memory
Scene from the film Photographic Memory
Scene from the film Photographic Memory
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Photographic Memory

  • United States
  • France
Audio Tracks 

American documentary filmmaker Ross McElwee finds himself in frequent conflict with his son, who is no longer the delightful child the father loved, but an argumentative young adult who inhabits virtual worlds available through the internet. To the father, the son seems to be addicted to and permanently distracted by those worlds.

The filmmaker undertakes a journey to St. Quay-Portrieux in Brittany where he worked for a spring as a wedding photographer’s assistant at age 24 – slightly older than his son is now. He has not been back to St. Quay since that visit, and hopes to gain some perspective on what his own life was like when he was his son’s age.

He also hopes to track down his former employer, a fascinating Frenchman named Maurice, and Maud, a woman with whom he was romantically involved during that spring 38 years ago. Photographic Memory is a meditation on the passing of time, the praxis of photography and film, digital versus analog, and the fractured love of a father for his son.


  • Original title
    Photographic Memory
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Marie-Emmanuelle Hartness, Ross McElwee
  • Editing
    Sabrina Zanella-Foresi
  • Music
    Dane Walker, DJ Flack and Charles Mingus
  • Duration
    84 min (46-90 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • United States
    • France
  • Colour
    • Colour
    • Black & White
  • Festivals
    • Cinema du Réel Paris 2012
    • BAFICI 2012
    • Venice Film Festival
    • Doclisboa Film Festival (Portugal)
    • Copenhagen Film Festival 2011
    • Mar Del Plata Film Festival 2011 is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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