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Objects And Memory

Airs Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: An American flag that weathered the attack on the World Trade Center.

What things mean the most to us? How do otherwise ordinary items come to symbolize experiences, aspirations and identity? "Objects And Memory" is about the otherwise ordinary things in our homes and museums that mean the most to us because of their associations with people and experiences.

The film shows how we preserve the past and speak to the future through objects that have been transformed into irreplaceable conveyers of experience, aspiration, and identity.

Guided by Frank Langella's narration and set to the music of Philip Glass, the film examines items recovered or offered in response to 9/11, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and the Vietnam War, along with stories of people who find them important.

In presenting meaningful physical symbols—those that speak, those that reach out, and those that heal—and their stories in the unusually dramatic setting of their retrieval, "Objects And Memory" is ultimately about the things we value most.

Without the objects, the stories would lack vibrancy; without the stories, the objects would lack significance. Taken together, the images of the objects, the memories they evoke and the stories of their collection take the viewer on a journey where the commonplace is transformed into the remarkable and where the stuff of history is highly personalized.

Video

Preview: Objects And Memory

Watch the full episode. See more PBS Presents.

Above: "Objects And Memory" examines the importance and meaning of items recovered after, or offered in response to, 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing and the Vietnam War. Narration by Frank Langella and music by Philip Glass.