Review of 'Mnemophrenia'
Never Saying Goodbye
I just watched Mnemophrenia, put up yesterday on Amazon and made last year. It's a brilliant, provocative, startlingly original movie, with no actresses and actors I've heard of, and written, directed, and produced by Eirini Konstantinidou, her first time out with a feature-length movie. I'll predict flatly that Mnemophrenia is destined to become a classic, and the first of movies made by Konstantinidou that will be similarly received.
The story is about a mental state—seen as an affliction by some, a liberating step in our evolution by others—called mnemophrenia, or the inability to tell the differences between virtual reality experiences and the real thing. But like all good science fiction and even McLuhanesque thinking about the media, it may be that virtual memories, once embedded in the brain, are more real, or at least as real, as what we take in with our naked senses.
This new virtual/biological experience mix certainly has some profound benefits. In the far future—there are three futures portrayed in this movie, near, mid, and far futures—and in that third future it also becomes possible to record a human being's experience on a chip that can be implanted in someone else's brain. (One reason I really liked this movie is in my 2003 novel, The Pixel Eye, I had squirrels implanted with chips that recorded what they saw and heard, for the purpose of spying.) In Mnemophrenia, this allows a kind of immortality, and picks up on a very powerful theme previously explored in a bunch of novels, my favorite being Charles Platt's The Silicon Man in 1993. In the far future in the movie, a couple is able to stay together and go beyond via the implant, when the wife is stricken by a rare fatal illness. There are several worthwhile stories in the movie, but the implant narrative in itself is heart-tugging and makes the movie memorable.
And the cinematography is vivid, surprisingly so for a first time director. Although conversation is king, hands and feet play almost as much a major role as the expressive faces. And the little futuristic windows that pop up in some of the scenes actually provide a stream of very useful information, in addition to being fun to look at.
See this movie, and see if you agree. I should mention that Eirini Konstantinidou was my student at Fordham University, in our MA in Public Communication program, more than a decade ago. That accounts for the speed with which I put this movie on my screen and reviewed it here, not what I've said about this movie in this review.
About the author
Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code & The Plot To Save Socrates; his LPs Twice Upon A Rhyme & Welcome Up. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context, The Soft Edge, & Digital McLuhan have been translated into 15 languages.