I''ll have to confess that we had ocassion to rent the latest incarnation of Brideshead Revisited. The movie lacked a great deal; it missed many of the central themes of Waugh's work. Most notable, it mistook mere nostalgia for memory. In a brilliant little piece of writing, Thomas HIbbs pointed out some of the shortcomings of the film's treatment of Waugh's text:
What the film makers did was to reduce memory to mere nostagia. It is the sort of mistake I see again and again in the life of the Christian church. And I see it operating in at least two ways. In its most obvious and plain form, nostalgia supplants memory by a sort of romantic longing, with the past as a reference. It is a form of reference to Golden Age theory (we might call it). All starts out well and goes downhill from there. In its fundamental Anglican form, one can see it in the 1549 preface: "There was never any thing by the wit of man so well devised, or so sure established, which in continuance of time hath not been corrupted." On the other side we have a form of philosophical Darwinism: remnants in the Church (which is always "behind" the culture) of ideas of progress, evolution, and a necessary moving beyond all that has come before.
Nostalgia is a convenient tool for both camps: in the first case it allows for mere longing, and in the second case it is used to reinforce a notion that what has gone before must be treated in a merely nostalgic way. The notion of memory, however, is quite different. Memory (and Augustine gives us insight into this) is really a power of the soul - the ability to be free (to some degree) of the contstraints of time. Memory helps us to be part of the communion of saints, and not merely to be nostalgic about a golden age.