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Surface new TV series on Apple TV


    TV series produced by Reese Witherspoon.Genre: psychological thriller.Released: July 29, 2022.Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Sophie, Oliver Jackson-Cohen as James, Stephan James as Baden.Country: US.Australian viewers: Apple TV.Rotten Tomatoes: A 53% approval rating with an average rating of 6.3/10, based on 17 critic reviews. Critics Consensus: “Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s captivating performance gives Surface some depth, but this overheated potboiler only gets murkier the more it tries to spice up a derivative amnesia mystery.” A traumatic head injury leaves Sophie with extreme memory loss. In her quest to put the pieces of her life back together she begins to question the truth behind her picture-perfect life. Her attempted suicide is seemingly the cause of her amnesia, but the question is – if her life was so brilliant why did she try to end it? It is gripping and the production is very slick. However, while offering as a theme a critique of the rich and privileged, through Sophie’s disaffection with playing the role of a rich man’s wife, the series meanwhile revels stylistically… Read More »Surface

    Awake – Wa’eet

      TV series.Country: Lebanon.Released: 2021.Creator: Nadia Tabbara.Starring Patrick Chemali, Jacques Maroun and Marie-Lou Nahhas.Australian viewers: SBS on Demand.Note: Of the many productions called Awake, look out for the Arabic name Wa’eet. Awake is about a young woman, Dana who wakes up from a 12-year coma initially unable to speak or interact with others. Fortunately, Dana recovers quickly and soon is able to return to her work in advertising. Yet she still has many gaps in her past and has to learn about society’s changes over the last decade. Much of the series takes place in a Beirut advertising agency, which works as a compelling setting for this gentle enjoyable drama.

      The Tourist series about character with amnesia

      The Tourist

        Six-part TV series.Genre: mix thriller drama/comedy.Released: Jan 2022.Starring: Jamie Dornan as The Man/Elliot Stanley, Danielle Macdonald as Probationary Constable Helen Chambers. Shalom Brune-Franklin as Luci Miller/Victoria, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Billy Nixon and Alex Dimitriades as Kosta Panigiris.Country: the UK, originally a BBC One series.For Australian viewers: HBO Max, Stan.Rotten Tomatoes: A 97% approval based on 31 reviews with an average rating of 7.60/10. Critics consensus: “Jamie Dornan makes for a compelling guide through The Tourist, a beguiling drama that deepens its mystery with solid shocks and welcome moments of levity.” This is a fabulous pacy thriller, undercut by enjoyably dry Australian humour. It’s about an Irishman (Jamie Dornan), who after a car accident wakes with retrograde amnesia in an Australian hospital. Wonderful international gangster types with homicidal intent toward our amnesiac hero appear. Actor Danielle Macdonald is wonderful as the traffic cop who wants to become a detective and whose moral code of conduct shows up the other characters. Filming, which began in March 2021 in South Australia, took… Read More »The Tourist



          Feature film.Director: Christos Nikou.Screenplay: Nikou and Stavros Raptis.Starring: Aris Servetalis as Aris, Sofia Georgovasili, Anna Kalaitzidou, and Argiris Bakirtzis. Production: Cate Blanchett serves as an executive producer with her production company Dirty Films. Released: 2020.Australian streaming: SBS OnDemand, select cinemas.Rotten Tomatoes: A 98% approval rating is based on 53 reviews, with an average of 7.4/10. Critical consensus:“Apples explores human identity from a surreal and often humorous perspective, with peculiar yet ultimately thought-provoking results.” Amidst a worldwide pandemic that causes sudden amnesia, middle-aged Aris finds himself enrolled in a recovery programme designed to help unclaimed patients build new identities. This film has a brilliant surrealist quality that remains with you well after you’ve seen it. Soon to review

          The Answer to the Riddle is me a tale of amnesia David Stuart Maclean

          The Answer to the Riddle is Me

            Behind the amnesia incident In 2002, David MacLean was a 28-year-old Fulbright scholar in the midst of a research trip to India for a novel when a severe, and sudden, case of amnesia struck. He’d been to India before with no hitches, but on this trip, his anti-malarial medicine caused him to lose his memory. Not that he knew the reason until much later. His amnesia was not merely of the ‘I don’t know where I am, or who’ variety, initially it thrust him into a hallucinatory state, resembling a psychotic episode. Not only the policeman he encountered in his confused frenzied state, but he himself suspected his situation had been induced because he was a drug addict. Having experienced the hallucinatory aspect of my own amnesia, where in my case I believed I was at the mercy of devils prodding me with pitchforks in the underworld, I admire the way Maclean writes about his amnesia. This material is difficult to render, and he pulls it off brilliantly. As readers,… Read More »The Answer to the Riddle is Me

            Guy Pierce as Leonard Shelby the ten-minute man, with anterograde amnesia


              Happy Birthday, Memento! It’s 21 years since Memento came to Australian viewers as a masterpiece of cinematic subjectivity directed by Christopher Nolan. Once seen, it’s hard to forget the vengeful amnesiac, Leonard Shelby, played by an emaciated, strung out, heavily tattooed, Guy Pierce. The huge volume of reviews and scholarly work since its release gives some indication of Memento’s impact, for it marked a surge in the ‘amnesia genre’ in contemporary books and films that continues to this day. Dubbed a neo-noir mystery thriller by Jason Clark from AllMovie , a boilerplate noir by New York Times reviewer A.O. Scott , a mystery thriller by the IMD site , whatever genre critics ascribe to it, most pay homage to its ingenuity, as they confirm its prime place in cinematic history, mulling over its diabolical structure and open-ended finale. What does the ending mean? Is Leonard Shelby an escapee from an asylum? Is he lying to himself and others? Is his wife alive or dead? How many of his memories are… Read More »Memento

              The Beautiful Fall

              The Beautiful Fall

                The Premise Every 179 days, a young man named Robbie forgets everything about his past due to a rare neurological condition. Thus the premise of the novel thrusts us into fantasy amnesia, a whole sub-genre of amnesia fiction in itself, and fine by me. When we meet Robbie, he knows his condition exists because one of his former selves has written a letter for him explaining his situation. What’s more, he has prepared himself a strategy; a set of strict instructions on how to live his life until the next forgetting. The herculean project he undertakes in his living room—setting up 83,790 dominoes into tower structures—takes all his concentration, energy and time. It is designed to keep him entirely on his own. Robbie has a maxim to help keep his sense of self intact: “Keep to yourself to keep yourself.” At the novel opening, there are only twelve days left before Robbie’s next forgetting. His domino task is proceeding smoothly, until a pretty young woman named Julie turns up. She… Read More »The Beautiful Fall

                Room 15 by Charles Harris

                Room 15

                  The Room 15 story Imagine you’re holding a party in summer one minute, and suddenly you’re alone in the street with snow falling, blood running from your neck and on your hands. What has happened in-between times, you have no idea. This is an early scene from Room 15. The reader sees the world from the narrator, Ross Blackleigh’s perspective, and so, like him, we find out through a series of surreal experiences that 18 months of his life have been wiped clean from his memory. Ross is a detective inspector in the midst of a murder investigation. He soon remembers his police work and identity, just not what’s occurred in the last year and a half. What’s more, someone is trying to kill him. In order to solve the murder of a nurse—whose last phone call was to him—it is crucial for Ross not to let on to those around him that he has trouble with his memory. Father and son complexity As someone who had profound amnesia myself,… Read More »Room 15

                  Still Alice

                  Still Alice

                    Alice Howland is a linguistics expert and professor teaching at Harvard University, thus when she forgets what the word ‘lexicon’ means while delivering a lecture, it is more telling than if someone else were to have forgotten it. So begins 50-year-old Alice’s downward slide into early-onset Alzheimers in the novel Still Alice, by Lisa Genova. The book was a New York bestseller in 2007, and the film adaptation (2014), won Julianne Moore a string of awards, including an Oscar for her role as Alice Howland. When I realised what Still Alice was about, I didn’t want to go there. As someone who woke one day in 1991 with full-scale retrograde amnesia, vestiges of which dog me to this day, I don’t like contemplating the possibility of getting a cognitive degenerative disease. So what eventually changed my mind? I realised my reviews here are not meant to be about my own case. I am exploring what other people have created in books and films about human forgetting and remembering. Still Alice… Read More »Still Alice

                    The Moostone cover by Wilkie Collins

                    The Moonstone

                      If you think the first English detective novel, written in Dickens’s day, would be too dated to bother reading, think again. The Moonstone remains to this day a cracking good yarn, offering engaging and colourful characters, a dark mystery tinged with the exotic and laden with social critique, plenty of suspense and an unexpected ending. Right to the final pages, the question remains: who dun it? A precursor Edgar Allen Poe had several pivotal crime mystery short stories out by the time The Moonstone appeared in 1868, but being a full-length novel, Wilkie Collins landed the title grandfather of the detective novel. The Moonstone set many of the ground rules for the popular genre it spawned. These include an English country house robbery; a ‘locked-room’ puzzle; a cast of eccentric characters, each potentially with a motive; bungling rural police; the entrance of a celebrated, skilled detective; numerous red herrings and false leads; the reader being granted all the clues to solve the crime at the same time as the detective;… Read More »The Moonstone

                      Catherine Lacey Pew. in which a character with amnesia is represented as indeterminate in terms of gender, class, ethnic background and age


                        As I read Pew my opinion of it swung wildly. One minute I thought it ground-breaking and brilliant, the next it disappointed. I do not usually have two minds about books, but then Pew is not your usual book. The premise The first-person narrator is an amnesiac with no idea of their past, their age, cultural or ethnic background. Furthermore, they may or may not know what gender they are, but either way they are not letting on. People in the book who meet them come up with different answers. Pew very rarely speaks, so such questions are left to guesswork by other characters. The reader is often none the wiser. This shape-shifting character, stumbles into a picturesque Bible-belt town in the US a week before its annual ‘forgiveness festival’, in which its citizens full of righteousness and zeal will reach the point of hysteria.The novel opens when our protagonist is woken on a church pew by one of the town’s prominent Christian families. The family promptly names them Pew.… Read More »Pew

                        The Bourne Identity Robert Ludlum

                        Me and Jason Bourne

                          Dare I compare myself with Jason Bourne? We may seem like an unlikely pair considering Jason Bourne is a sharp shooting fictional character in an American spy thriller and I am a pacifist woman living a quiet life in Australia. Yet what we share is waking up one time with no idea who we were, in other words, a case of amnesia. . Bourne’s memory loss story has been a famous and highly lucrative one. Yet increasingly Bourne’s characterisation, and the marketing behind him has come under heavy criticism. Read more about critical responses. Robert Ludlum’s inspiration for Bourne Bourne’s amnesia was first introduced to the reading public in the opening scene of the novel The Bourne Identity (1980) by Robert Ludlum (pictured left) when Jason Bourne is hauled out of the water into a French fishing boat. This scene is replicated in the film of the same name released in 2002. Already a spy thriller writer, Ludlum was inspired to create the Bourne character after he experienced a case… Read More »Me and Jason Bourne

                          Running with Scissors: a misery memoir

                          Running with Scissors

                            To be or not to be a memoir. This was the question hanging over Running With Scissors when it received a lawsuit in 2005. In fact, the background story of this New York Times best-selling memoir is almost as amusing as the memoir itself. Firstly, to the story. Running with Scissors opens with the American 10-year-old, Augusten, living with his neurotic mother, a chain-smoking aspiring poet who when, after divorcing, becomes a lesbian feels cramped by her son’s presence. When she ships him off to live with her Northampton psychiatrist, Augusten enters an eccentric world where life is likened to — running with scissors. The Finch family Augusten lives with the Finch family, a pseudonym, where the patriarch is a Santa-look-a-like who indiscriminately offers Augusten pharmaceuticals and condones the boy’s affair with an adult male client, which looks a lot like paedophilia. The Finch matriarch eats dog food and remains oblivious to the madness around her. The house is squalid, entertainment consisting of free-roaming children watching a dog poo on… Read More »Running with Scissors


                            We Were Liars

                              We Were Liars is a short novel, perfect for any reader who wants a small pacy read and is prepared to slip into the skin of an impetuous American teenager. True to its YA nature, there is an impassioned, impossible love story, but it offers more than that. It’s also about what lies beneath the façade of the American dream epitomised by the glamorous and very rich Sinclair family. Cady and the Sinclairs The Sinclairs are small l liberal elites. They are invariably tall, good-looking and confident. Cadence or Cady, our 15-year-old narrator at the novel’s opening, says: “We are old-money Democrats. Our smiles are wide, our chins square and our tennis serves aggressive.” Cady has a quick wit, a big heart, and a wild story to tell, centred around her annual trips to the family’s private island, Beechwood. Our narrator has a flaw: she is, at least initially, blind to her privilege. On the island, Cady connects to three others she calls collectively ‘The Liars’. Johny and Mirran are… Read More »We Were Liars

                              Klara and the Sun a dystopia set in a technologically advanced future

                              Klara and the Sun

                                Told from the point of view of an advanced robot, Klara and the Sun is a riveting novel by English author Kazuo Ishiguro. Klara is an AF or Artificial Friend, used by affluent teens as companions In a future American society. No longer the latest model, Klara has been programmed for empathy — she keenly observes human emotions and behaviours, responding in all instances to protect and nurture her owner. While not about amnesia per se, the unusual perceptions the reader is privy to, due to being granted Kara’s point of view, are reminiscent of my experience of trying to piece the world together after retrograde amnesia. Klara as a programmed robot does not have all the salient facts, and in the absence of these, she invents. Chilling social order The drip-feeding of information about what it is to be lifted, and other crucial plot elements, help make the novel an extraordinary read. Part-mystery, part-speculative novel, Klara’s perception as a lens to view this chilling social order is compelling, albeit… Read More »Klara and the Sun

                                The Girl on The Train HIndi

                                The Girl on the Train

                                  As a novel, The Girl on The Train sure has an afterlife. Released in 2015, written by Paula Hawkins, the latest film it spawned was a 2021 Bollywood production (see pic). The amnesia thriller also inspired two other films. I look back on how the original novel became a phenomenon, not merely a runaway best seller, but a marker of the early move in popular fiction towards ‘domestic noir’. My interest lies in the memory loss factor the novel relies on for the telling of its story of ordinary women’s lives gone terribly wrong. The memory loss type? Alcohol induced.

                                  Connie from Too Close

                                  Too Close

                                    Three-part TV miniseries 2021.Psychological thriller.Director: Susan Tully.Australian viewers: SBS OnDemand.Cast: Emily Watson as Dr. Emma Robertson, Forensic psychiatrist assigned to the Mortensen case. Denise Gough as Connie Mortensen, Robertson’s patient, is labelled the ‘yummy mummy monster’ in the press. Thalissa Teixeira, Vanessa, ‘Ness’ Jones, Connie’s friend. Risteárd Cooper, Si Robertson, Emma’s husband and a barrister. Jamie Sives, Karl Mortensen, Connie’s husband. This chilling series is based on a novel of the same name by Clara Salaman under the pen name Natalie Daniels. It follows dedicated forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Emma Robertson as she assesses the sanity of ‘yummy mummy monster’ Connie Mortensen, who is accused of attempted murder. Connie drove her car into water off a pier with two children in the back seat. Connie is suffering from dissociative amnesia—or is she putting on an act? This is harrowing and extremely well-done. The question that haunts the viewer is: ‘How close do you get before it’s too late…?’ All three shows have aired in Australia, and the final episode is rivetting.… Read More »Too Close

                                    I Forgot to Remeber by Su Meck. a True life story of retrograde and anterograde amnesia all at once.mnesia

                                    I Forgot to Remember

                                      In 1988 Su Meck, a 22-year-old mother of two young boys, was at home in Texas when she swung her six-month-old son around playfully in the air. Unbeknownst to her, part of his body brushed against a precariously connected ceiling fan, which came crashing down on Su’s head, changing her life forever. This accident wiped Su’s mind clean of her memories of her life prior to that point. Her memories of her first 22 years did not return. After the accident, when Su woke up in Intensive Care she did not recognise her children or her husband. So began her life as an amnesiac. Su teamed up with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Daniel de Vise to help her recreate her experience of her case of amnesia, which was an unusually severe one. This is an extraordinary story told candidly. Su’s amnesia story continued Su’s amnesia had elements of two known forms: retrograde and anterograde. She could not remember her life before the injury, nor could she easily make new memories after… Read More »I Forgot to Remember