SCMS - New Orleans, March 10-13, 2011 - Misremembered Film - deadline August 10, 2010

full name / name of organization: 
John Bruns (College of Charleston); Ned Schantz (McGill University)
contact email: 

Writing at the dawn of cable and home video in 1979, Stanley Cavell contends with the dubious memory of a line from The Philadelphia Story: "no explanation short of a dream would seem to explain how I could have made up Katherine Hepburn's reference to Stage Door...It remains possible--and I'd bet a pre-War dollar on it—that the film was initially released with this improvised line left in, at least in some prints." What we find most interesting in Cavell's words is less the problem of multiple prints than his determination to authenticate his probable error, to reclaim for public consideration an event otherwise consigned to the oblivion of dreams. Prompted by Cavell's call for a study of what may be remembered in any art, we invite papers that explore the phenomenon of misremembered film. What do we make of those vividly remembered bits of film that fail to appear when we go back to look for them? Do errors of memory necessarily vitiate the ideas or feelings they produce? If wayward memories can be minimized or eliminated by new technologies of playback and scrutiny, are we now in a position to begin to rewrite the history of film memory? We seek a variety of approaches—historical, phenomenological, anecdotal—to the question of misremembered film. Please send a 250-word abstract and brief bio to John Bruns or Ned Schantz by August 10.