Previously at the ICA - Films

Unknown White Male

18 Dec 200628 Dec 2006

"A fascinating and thoughtful documentary" The Times

What would happen if you lost all of your memories - of family, friends, experiences, relationships, achievements, ambitions, hopes and fears? Would you find yourself again... or lose your mind?

A young man wakes up on the New York subway at Coney Island with his memory inexplicably wiped clean, the identity he has constructed for himself gone without a mental trace. Gradually, it emerges that this stranger in his own world is Doug Bruce, a stockbroker-turned-photographer who has lost his entire memory - and hence his constructed identity - to a rare form of amnesia.

A long-time friend of Doug, director Rupert Murray charts the reconstruction of his friend's life in this unique, fascinating documentary, travelling with him to meet friends and family members who have become strangers and allowing the audience to share Doug's experience of discovering the world for the 'first' time.

In Bruce's 'clean slate' state, everything from falling in love to walking through Times Square is fresh and remarkable. Intimate footage shot by Murray in London and New York, video diaries, old home movies and reconstructions come together to create this portrait of identity as a 'work in progress'; Doug continues to build his life after the amnesia - whilst always in the knowledge that there is a 95% chance his old life will return.

Provocative philosophical questions of memory, identity and personality add resonance to the stranger-than-fiction story, making Murray's haunting film something to talk about and reflect upon long after it's over.

A Word of Mouth Films release. Dir Rupert Murray, UK 2005, 88 mins, cert 12A

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