The Importance of Memories

By Grace Bonner, April 6, 2021
Reflections on "The Idea of a Lake"

Musings on "The Idea of a Lake" Film and Talkback

My grandfather reading on the porch swing, 

my sister and I looking for raspberries in the hot summer sun, 

these memories float into my mind while watching The Idea of a Lake (La Idea de un Lago). 

Directed by Milagros Mumenthaler, the film follows Inés, a young pregnant woman, while she publishes a photo and poetry book bringing her back to vacations as a child when her father disappeared. 

Inspired by a book titled Pozo de Aire, written by Guadalupe Gaona, Mumenthaler’s film adapts stories from the author and others far too familiar with the 1970s dictatorship in Argentina. Combining aspects of fiction and truth, the film transcends a traditional linear structure.

After watching the dreamy-like film, I attended the Saturday talkback where director Milagros Mumenthaler and Andres Levinson of the Museum of Cinema in Buenos Aires discussed the film, answering questions from the moderator and the audience. 

Filtered through the main character’s point of view, Inés’s raw memories are shown throughout the 82 minutes. Using HD video for present-day and 16 mm film for the past, Ines’s memories as a young girl are shown with a grainy texture and saturated color. 

Mumenthaler describes the home-movie aesthetic as being used in a similar way to photographs. These items are a way of remembering the past or creating new memories. Accompanied by music, these scenes remind me of my family vacations as a child, experiencing the same wonderment as Inés and her brother do. 

When asked about the significance of the title to the film, Mumenthaler explains that an idea can be very subjective. This is what she wants to get across throughout the film. Inés is telling the story of her memories and point of view of the lake and how it connects her to her father. 

Mumenthaler includes that nature is very powerful, a reason why the lake is so important within the story. 

The Idea of a Lake shares how powerful memories can be when it comes to a person, a family, or a country. Memories are something everyone has and some experience in a collective way. 

Although I’m not from Argentina and did not experience life in a dictatorship, I’m able to empathize with the main character through memories. 

So with this film, I continue to remember my days at a lake. 

Wind in my hair, sun in my face, with my family surrounding me.