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Movie Review: In Search of Memory

Alternate Title: Total Recall

Story: Dr. Eric Kandel won the Nobel Prize in 2000 for his work in the physiology of the brain. How the brain works. How we learn. How we remember. I will do my best to remember what this film was all about so I can recommend it to you. And I do. German film maker Petra Seeger's documentary about this most engaging 80 year old is memorable. Really.

The film presents Dr Kandel's lifework in a very user friendly manner. We meet Kandel's family, his co-workers and get to watch him during some of his presentations to various venues including schools, colleagues and synagogues. Kandel is charming, funny, full of life - a man anyone would want to meet.

The film explores Kandel's memory of his childhood in Vienna before his family had to leave in 1939 because of the war and his childhood in Brooklyn after they came to the US (he went to Erasmus for all of the Brooklynites reading this). Kandel admits that studying the brain and memory will no doubt bring some psychoanalysis into the picture - and that's okay too. Thankfully we get to spend more time with the scientist than the science.

Kandel maintains that our memory is the base function needed for all knowledge. Memory is the glue that holds everything together and enables us to reason, communicate and problem solve. Apparently, as a young neuroscientist says 'he is the rock star of neuroscience' and this film clearly shows us why.

Check out the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKg79cNCVzw

Charlie Rose chats with Eric Kandel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhDvWL1V_1w

Acting: This is a documentary. This category does not apply.

Trivia: For all you ever wanted to know about the Nobel Prize and its winner check out this site. http://nobelprizes.com/

Predilection: I like documentaries

Critters: Lab mice and snails.

Food: Lots of yummy looking pastries on their trip to Vienna and some Passover food at their Seder table.

Sex Spectrum: No sex - just science.

Soundtrack: I can't remember.

Opening Titles: The film jumps right into Kandel's explanation of where memory is located in the brain. All credits, other than the title are at the end.

Visual Art: We ge tot see some fine art in Vienna and the personal collection of the Kandels which is mostly German/Austrian expressionist.

Theater Audience: Surprisingly packed for a Sunday morning.

Squirm Scale: World War II is beyond squirmy.

Drift Factor: I looked at my watch once after an hour.

Tissue Usage: None

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: While I always suggest the big screen, rental would be fine.

Length: 90 minutes