Immoral Memories

14 minutes, 1988

Still from Immoral Memories, 1988

Still from Immoral Memories, 1988



Production, Camera, Editing, Sound:   Gary Popovich

Premiered at TIFF, 1988.


“If the most common (and perhaps inevitable) subject of experimental cinema has been the process of image production itself, this program demonstrates the undiminished richness of this motivation. Although each of these works demonstrates a profound interest in the epistemology of the photographic image, they find radically different ways of conducting their investigations. In Immoral Memories Gary Popovich finds in the development of motion pictures (principally), in the experiments of Muybridge and the kinetoscope) a metaphor of sorts for the birth of contemporary vision.”

Toronto Festival of Festivals Catalogue, 1988

On (Experimental) Film
Cinema Canada

“Immoral Memories has just been completed by filmmaker Gary Popovich. Gary describes the film’s motivation as a personal response to a moment in Nietzsche’s life when ‘in his final frenetic year, churning out five books, he hears a horse in the street being whipped.  He races downstairs, throws his arms around the horse’s neck to comfort it and then falls down himself, unconscious—the last moment of sanity in his life. 

Immoral Memories is an emotional response to the inventiveness and energy in Nietzsche’s life and to the inventors of cinema, a life and a medium which propelled us into the 20th century.

The film, Gary explains, triangulates three moments in history: ‘Nietzsche lived on block away from the church that housed the shroud of Turin—a cloth, a fabric on which an image reflects back to us an extremely popular figure, an idol, one might say a matinee idol; the shroud is the beginning of cinema.’ The fanciful triangulation is made up of Gary being in the spot where Nietzsche wrote The Anti-Christ with the shroud one block away. Christ as ghost image, fading, while cinema was being invented. ‘As Nietzsche sharpens his pen for his final blows against Christianity, Lumiere, trains his images on the construction of the new church. He buttresses the knave under the guise of science, and ushers in the 20th century as a torrential train of images that loosen the Gods’ grip on the engine of the earth. The only thing left is to put the collection plate in place at the ticket window.’” (Barbara Sternberg, Cinema Canada)

“A Paris café in 1895…the light of Dr. Frankenstein’s lamp…a history of cinema as twilight sleep…a shroud for the entr’acte between birth and history that unveils the new century. The film’s form comprises an impressionistic evocation of three periods during Friedrich Nietzsche’s life…filmed with the ghost of F.N. in Turin and Paris, with: the shroud of Turin, Muybridge, Lumiere, Melies, and others.”

Gary Popovich