Sunday, 16 June 2013

NSFW: The Man Whose Mind Exploded

Yesterday I was at the Sheffield Documentary Festival to see a film a friend had mentioned. The title immediately grabbed my attention, and the trailer is equally compelling. Be warned, even the snippets below include some graphic images and language.

The Man Whose Mind Exploded is an intimate tale of the friendship between filmmaker Toby Amies and the late (and self-named) Drako Oho Zarhazar. Drako was known to many in his home town of Brighton as a colourful local figure with his makeup, tattoos and flamboyant sense of dress. He would cheerfully tell anyone who would listen about his life - modelling for Salvador Dali and his career on stage and in underground film. However, these tales would be staccato and repetitive because Drako had severe memory problems as a result of several serious accidents. Robbed of his short term memory and with patchy long-term recollections he lived in the present. His coping strategy was to construct a spiritual mantra of "Trust. Absolute. Unconditional." This meant he would trust everyone who he came across.

This trust is at the centre of the film. His barriers, particularly about his homosexuality, were nonexistent. He would happily let people into his flat, which was plastered with a mixture of pornographic images, photos from his past and notes to himself to call the doctor. The latter were more often than not ignored, which leads to Amies' growing frustration as Drako's health gradually fails. Indeed, Amies is increasingly a character in the film, which is no bad thing as we see Drako through the eyes of someone who cares and worries about him.

Amies was on-hand for a Q&A after the showing and his answers were very revealing. He chose to focus on Drako's last years rather than his fascinating life story because it reflected his subject's unique state - to live in the 'now'. In a poignant introduction he asserted that a true artist is someone who makes you see the world in a different way. This is what Drako did above all things with his unfailing good humor and implicit trust in those around him.


2 comments:

  1. What a lovely review thank you. Great blog title too! Thank you. Toby

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