Film Review: Memory Box

Young Maia and Raja

When it comes down to it, how much do we actually know about our parents? it’s more than likely that we’re aware of the major events in their lives as well as a wealth of random facts. The period which coincides with our existence will obviously be more familiar, but what about before we were born? It’s not something most of us think about growing up, wrapped up in our own lives, but we usually become more curious as we age. Memory Box plays on this idea.

Originally from Lebanon, Maia (Rim Turki) now lives in Montreal with her teenage daughter Alex (Paloma Vauthier). There’s a distance between them which reflects Maia’s relationship with her own mother. When her old friend dies, she receives the unexpected delivery. A box full of notebooks, tapes, and photos which she sent back to Beirut during the 1980s. She’s determined to ignore the past but Alex secretly keeps dipping in, discovering a whole different life she was completely unaware of.

Whilst the premise doesn’t initially promise much, Memory Box grows into a beautiful and wonderful celebration of life. At its core, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige’s film is a story of three generations of women and the way they learn to understand each other. In many ways, it’s a modern fairy tale. It’s beautifully acted and vibrantly shot, but it’s the way Memory Box is meticulously and lovingly pieced together which makes it so special.

Memory Box is out in cinemas and in virtual cinemas on 21 January.

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