|2005, 25 mins. (Columbia)
Writer/Director: Till Osterland
Producers: Karen Dillon, Hank Norman, Ken Kristensen, Michael Kaufman
Editor: Garrett Tezanos
Director of Photography: Trish Govoni
Composer: Jared Hunter
Production Designers: Don MacLean, Seth Wachtel
Cast: Rain Phoenix, Stephen Barker Turner
|The mystery of memory, how it disappears and what remains of our identity when we lose it, is the tragic core of Till Osterland's The Disappearance of Andy Waxman. Osterland's protagonist loses his short-term memory after a car accident. The director, who was born in Germany and now lives in New York City, calls Andy's condition "an affliction and a gift at the same time. He does not conquer this condition," says Osterland. "But he figures out a way to use it so he can go on living despite his world crashing and burning around him. "
Osterland, who has taught directing at Columbia University and graduated from that institution's School of the Arts in 2005 with an MFA, worked on the film with Kent State University neuro-psychologist Professor Lawrence Melamed. "I interviewed him several times," says Osterland. "When I was done with my draft, I ran it by him to make sure that the science was accurately portrayed." The director notes proudly that The Disappearance of Andy Waxman has been the subject of interest from psychologists and has been shown in college psychology courses.
For Osterland, Andy Waxman is a "life-artist, and a representative of modern man." Says the director, "My chief interest was to show how we constantly rearrange the world according to our wishes and desires to make it what we want it to be and to make pain bearable. Andy's short-term memory loss functions as a metaphor for how we all live with ourselves. The trick is that the illusion only works if we forget that we have created it in the first place."
|Disorders of memory, Oxford Journals|
Anteretrograde amnesia, Rutgers University
Amnestic disorders, Encyclopedia of Medical Disorders
The Disappearance of Andy Waxman on imdb.com