Memory: The Origins of Alien

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Memory: The Origins of Alien
Memory- The Origins of Alien.jpg
Directed byAlexandre O. Philippe
Produced byKerry Deignan Roy
Written byAlexandre O. Philippe
Based on
Exhibit A Pictures
Distributed byLegion M and Screen Media Films[1]
Release date
CountryUnited States
Box office$38,995[2][3]

Memory: The Origins of Alien is a 2019 documentary film. Directed and written by Alexandre O. Philippe and produced by Kerry Deignan Roy, it traces the origin of the Alien franchise. The film was nominated for Audience Award in the Copenhagen International Documentary Festival and Edinburgh International Film Festival.


Memory: The Origins of Alien traces the origins of director Ridley Scott's works on the Alien franchise.[4] The film includes original story notes, rejected designs and storyboards, exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, and screenwriter Dan O'Bannon's original 29-page script of Memory (1971).[5] The film mainly focuses on the "chest burster" scene from Alien (1979).[6]



Director Alexandre O. Philippe announced Memory: The Origins of Alien while he was promoting his 2017 documentary film 78/52, which is based on the 1960 film Psycho.[7] Philippe said he was entranced by the tagline of Alien and he further added after watching Alien (1979) in the VHS tape it "blew him away".[7] Talking about his approach, Philippe said:

I love to tackle cinema and pop culture in a way that is rooted in some deep idea that needs to be explored further.

— Alexandre O. Philippe, [8]

Philippe credited the 1944 film Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion by Francis Bacon for getting him excited about exploring the Alien franchise.[9] He further added, "If you looked at the artwork, you'll say, 'That's just a little tidbit of trivia'.[9]


Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 82% based on 76 reviews, with an average rating of 6.78/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Memory - The Origins of Alien offers an entertaining inside look at the making of a classic — and compellingly analyzes its creation in the context of its era".[10] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 70 out of 100, based on 18 critics, indicating "Generally favorable reviews".[11]

Phil Hoad of The Guardian wrote: "Francis Bacon, Greek myth and unsung script hero Dan O'Bannon are given their due in this richly obsessive film about the making of a sci-fi classic".[12] Dan Jolin of the Time Out wrote: "However, thanks to 20th Century Fox's rich archives and the quality of the dark space-saga's DVD/Blu-Ray extras, there is honestly not much in 'Memory' – named after 'Alien' creator Dan O'Bannon's first title for the script – that warrants its claim to be the 'untold' story of its origin".[13] Anton Bitel of the Little White Lies wrote: "But what Philippe's documentary traces is the way in which Alien transforms the perverted (pro)creative process at the heart of its own making into the main theme and central mystery of its ongoing story".[14] Owen Gleiberman writing for Variety wrote, "Memory captures the hypnotic layers of history and meaning that were folded into the shock value of Alien".[15]


Award Year Category Result Ref
Copenhagen International Documentary Festival 2019 Politiken's Audience Award Nominated [16]
Edinburgh International Film Festival Audience Award Nominated [17]


  1. ^ Haring, Bruce; Haring, Bruce (2019-04-26). "'Memory: The Origins of Alien' Documentary Acquired By Screen Media & Legion M". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-10-27.
  2. ^ "Memory: The Origins of Alien". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  3. ^ "The Origins of Alien". The Numbers. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  4. ^ "Memory: The Origins of Alien Is a Stomach-Churning Look at the Making of a Classic". Portland Mercury. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  5. ^ "Memory is a superficial look at the origins of Alien". Film. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  6. ^ "HiT 'cast 134: Alexandre O. Philippe ('Memory: The Origins of Alien')". Hollywood in Toto. 2019-09-28. Retrieved 2019-10-05.
  7. ^ a b "'Memory—The Origins of Alien' Director Alexandre O. Philippe is Happy to Make Movies About Classic Movies, Talks His Upcoming 'Exorcist' Documentary [Interview]". /Film. 2019-02-12. Retrieved 2019-10-05.
  8. ^ "Sundance 2019 Interview: MEMORY Director Alexandre O. Philippe on Exploring the Lasting Influence of ALIEN and His Upcoming THE EXORCIST Documentary". Daily Dead. 2019-01-26. Retrieved 2019-10-05.
  9. ^ a b Toronto, Point of View Magazine • 392-401 Richmond Street West •; email, ON • M5V 3A8 • Canada •639-0653 • Send us an. "Intense Memories – Point of View Magazine". Retrieved 2019-10-05.
  10. ^ Memory: The Origins of Alien (2019), retrieved 2019-10-01
  11. ^ Memory: The Origins of Alien, retrieved 2019-11-14
  12. ^ Hoad, Phil (2019-08-30). "Memory: The Origins of Alien review – inside the secret psyche of a monster". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-10-01.
  13. ^ "Memory: The Origins of Alien". Time Out London. Retrieved 2019-10-01.
  14. ^ Memory: The Origins of Alien (2019), retrieved 2019-10-01
  15. ^ Gleiberman, Owen; Gleiberman, Owen (2019-01-25). "Sundance Film Review: 'Memory: The Origins of Alien'". Variety. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  16. ^ "CPH:DOX (2019)". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-10-01.
  17. ^ "Edinburgh International Film Festival (2019)". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-10-01.

External links[edit]