You know the sequence in Ratatouille? The critic attends the restaurant and asks for ratatouille. He takes a mouthful. And we fall, viewer and character together. We fall through the years, into his childhood. Proustean. That’s what the reviewers said. Proustean. But this happens outside books. Outside films. It resonates because we experience it. We understand. We feel. The piece of music that takes you back to being thirteen again having difficulties with girls (or boys); that line in the book you read to your children transporting you to those nights with torches under the bed clothes; the smells, the tastes that remind you of dinners in front of the telly, plates balanced on your knee, Eric Wallace on the television.
And odd things set you off. Words. Being alone in a room. The anxiety of hearing someone else’s half told story. Half glimpsing a man, younger than you now but not the man then, with eyes the colour of phlegm. The man on the television boasting.
And remembering transports you. The judder into your own past leaves you needing to explain. But the telling, the act of explaining, makes the transportation more visceral. Puts you in the room, the mirror on the chest of drawers giving you a glimpse outside, of who you know is there. It lets you hear the television, the vibrations echoing round the house, the ribald laughter from the living room. And you are left wondering if the remembering, if the very act of recollecting, that teleporting into your old body that happens with a memory, transforms. Are you remembering the retelling? Or remembering what happened?
Either way, you hate Paul Hogan.