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A true-life mystery unfolds when a handsome young British man finds himself at the end of a subway line on Coney Island—with no idea who he is or how he got there. Frightened and with no memory of even a single day in his life, he turns himself in to the police and is eventually diagnosed with amnesia. Director Rupert Murray's documentary follows the profound journey of the man as he tries to re-establish himself with his family and friends, retaining what he admires about his former self while casting off what—and whom—he dislikes. It is at once a nightmare and a dream come true: a chance at rebirth.
 

 A Day To Remember

Where was I that morning?

I must have been staying in a hotel.

I’m trying to think but nothing comes.

I remember floral sheets.

Yes, of course, we stayed in the spare room at Doug’s father’s house, the hotel was the next trip.

We must have got up early.

What did we have for breakfast? Did we eat anything?

Coffee and a couple of Marlboro Lights probably (my favourite).

Clothes? Maybe those green khaki shorts?

Did we drive down the coast road in southern Spain in two cars or one? Can’t remember.

Did we go to Tarifa before we hit the beach? Not a clue.

Before about lunchtime it’s all a blur, fragments of pictures and information but nothing coherent. Then things start to take shape.

As I write, that day in the late summer of 2004 is slowly coming back to me.
I can start to visualise it, feel it, enjoy it in my own personal time machine. And once I’m there I begin to see things I thought I’d forgotten, experiences stored in my head that might have stayed there unremembered, until the day I die, had I not written this article.

My first clear recollection is of the beach car park being very full, and I have a vague image of tanned Spanish girls in white bikinis, but perhaps that’s just conditioning from years of Mediterranean holidays.

I think there were two of them.

We walked towards the beach.

I remember the bright sunlight and the strong wind, but I can’t re-feel the heat. I can see Marina walking, looking at the ground. There was a small lake behind the beach and people were practising windsurfing, and they needed it. I think they looked German.

We sat in the middle of the beach.

The wind took our voices away from us.

Crunchy sand. Cigarettes. Towels.

Why do I remember this day? It was unusual and special and I have the video tape, which helps, but what purpose does it serve to have it stored in my head? How much does this day, along with the other 13,112 I have lived so far, help to form my character? This is a question that has been on my mind since I started making a film about an old friend of mine who lost his memory. Thirty-five years of his experiences wiped out.

Stuey and I decided to take the camera up on the huge sand dunes sweeping around the beach to our right.

Pine forest surround. We drove. Found a beetle.

Same type of beetle I had filmed on a beach down the road two years ago. I remembered they were black and fast.

Filmed it making its way through scrub. It would problem solve at an incredible rate. Over, under, left or right of the grass shooting up through the sand.

Thought it was emblematic of the journey that my friend Doug had taken since he had lost his memory.

Decisions, journey, experience.

Yeah, a hot motif, if I don’t overplay it.

I can probably only remember a hundred days of my life at the most. I have a stronger sense of what things were like over time; school, parents, clubbing.

But what if I woke up one day and all that was gone.

Not only gone, but I didn’t even know how much I had lost.

That’s what happened to Doug. He lost everything and had to start again. He has built up layer upon layer of new experiences ever since, creating a personality, creating a history, and an ever stronger sense of himself. But how much is he the same person and how much is he someone entirely new, formed by those new experiences?

It’s an almost impossible question to answer. I still don’t know, but hopefully I’m a little bit closer to finding out.

We stayed on the dunes until the sun went down, covering them in the obligatory red and golden glow.

We jumped off them, we rolled down them.

The wind died off to a faint breeze. Innocent smiles.

Car hot from sitting in sun. I can’t remember but it must have been.

And then Tarifa.

Doug borrowed my jacket, the one that I lost.

I can remember the French restaurant and the superb sangria and those delicious crepes. Yellow walls. Doug spoke French.

Busy piazza full of children.

I’ve forgotten what happened next.

We must have gone home. And to sleep.