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Amnesia James Brighton Enigma [Import]

1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dusan Dukic, Tyler Hall, Derek Lebrero, Maurizio Terrazzano, Karyne Lemieux
  • Directors: Denis Langlois
  • Writers: Denis Langlois, Bertrand Lachance
  • Producers: Denis Langlois, Bertrand Lachance
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Mongrel Media
  • Release Date: Nov. 20 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B000W1USIQ

Product Description

Inspired by true events, this shocking story unfurls as a young American wakes up stark naked in a parking lot one frigid morning in Montreal. The only thing he remembers is that his name is James Brighton (Dusan Dukic) and he is gay. After the police efforts produce no results, James desperately turns to a local gay hotline and a doctorial student for help. As the pieces of his actual identity unfold, a bizarre twist lands James in jail and everyone questioning who this person really is! Filmmaker Denis Langlois (Danny in the Sky, The Escort) keeps us on the edge of our seats and guessing throughout this amazing tale.

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By David E on Oct. 31 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Bon ben c'est pas génial comme histoire. Bien qu'il y a une ribambelle d'acteurs/actrices assez bon, je me suis fait chier et j'avais hâte que ça se termine.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 21 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
"I'm much more than gay, but that's all I remember ..." Nov. 22 2007
By Bob Lind - Published on
Format: DVD
A young American man wakes up naked in a Montreal parking lot, with no memory of what who he is or how he got there. All he remembers about himself is that he is gay. So begins "Amnesia: The James Brighton Enigma" (Canadian 2005), a fictional story based on real life events.

The first thing that the young man eventually remembers is what he believes his name to be: James Brighton. He remembers other isolated things, such as some music he likes, expresses a familiarity with television broadcasting equipment, and easily picked up French as a second language when sent to a class. But he still claims not to remember where he is from, or how he got to that parking lot in Montreal. He is diagnosed with a rare type of amnesia, likely associated with a severe mental or emotional shock of some kind, but all therapies fail in trying to find out more. He turns for help to a staffer from the local gay helpline, as well as a doctoral student who has taken an interest in his case. He appears on a tabloid TV show broadcast throughout the United States, hoping that will provide leads as to who he really might be. When some calls come in, they suggest that James isn't who he claims to be at all, and perhaps faked his amnesia in order to force a new start away from legal problems in the US. What is likely his real life comes back to him gradually, in flashbacks, but we are never quite sure if that is the truth either.

An interesting approach to an amnesia story, with kind of a Lifetime / Movie of the Week vibe, though the acting is a bit better than that genre. The writer puts an interesting hook on the old "I am so much more than just a gay man"-tirade by introducing us to someone who doesn't know anything about himself *except* that he is a gay man, and raising related issues of how important identity is to one's wellbeing.
The film is paced well except for the last half hour or so, when characters seem to appear without any real introduction, and disappear just as quickly, making it difficult to follow what is happening. I was also confused trying to follow the dialogue which alternates in English and French (for which subtitles are provided), sometimes in the same sentence. Despite its faults, this is a worthy effort, and I give it four stars out of five. DVD has only chapter stops, photo gallery and a trailer; a director commentary and more background info on the real case (which is provided on the film's website) would have been nice. Not rated, but would only be a PG-13 for gay content.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Amnesia and Confusion and Pseudobiopics Dec 9 2007
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format: DVD
AMNESIA: THE JAMES BRIGHTON ENIGMA (Amnésie: L'énigme James Brighton) is an independent Canadian film based on fact, but with alterations of names and places to protect/enhance the real people. The title's two operative words are 'amnesia' and 'enigma' because watching this film places the viewer in the uncomfortable position of confusion as to fact and fiction - a state of main that must imitate the art of the story! The story is a version of an incident that occurred in 1998: a young nude lad was found in a deserted lot in Montréal, taken to a hospital where he was found to have total amnesia except for the fact that he knows he is gay and he believes his name is 'James Brighton'. The story is enhanced by a strong script by Bertrand Lachance and Denis Langlois (who also directs) and by a cast that is able and convincing, especially the main character James Brighton/Matthew Honeycutt (Dusan Dukic).

The grit of the film lies not so much in the storyline (that becomes fragmented at regular intervals due to the moments of memory return the main character experiences), but instead in the manner in which our amnesiac struggles to find his identity, a family, and a sense of belonging. Through the help of social workers, detectives, a gay hotline service, and the media the 'true' identity is slowly unveiled, but not without some serious setbacks - often presented to us as flashback bits and pieces as to who our amnesiac may be. The transitions between the Montreal scenes and the subsequent scenes in Tennessee (the apparent home of the amnesiac now known as Matthew Honeycutt) are choppy with sidebars of Pentecostal church services adding to the confused mix. Yet in the end the pleasure of the film is up to the viewer's interpretation of all the 'facts' that have been discovered: we are allowed to participate in the enigma. In Québecois, French, and English with variable subtitles. Grady Harp, December 07
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A modest film with a punch Jan. 20 2008
By Thomas Fekete - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This small Canadian movie released in 2005 tackles a frequent cinematic topic: if we forget who are are, who are we? This "drawn from truth" story reimagines the circumstances of a young man found lost in Montreal with no recollection of himself or his former life. His nascent sense of self offers the possibility that he is gay, so a very enlightened Montreal offers resources for this man to reintegrate into a community where he might make friends. Unfortunately, he cannot recapture his true past -- or can he? As the story moves along, we are left puzzled and slightly confused about the nature of reality as we learn more about this man and his earlier and later life. The film is technically adequate, but looks as if it were shot direct to video with less than optimal lighting. The sound is fair, and there is a decent musical score. The acting and directing are good although somewhat unforgettable. The movie says a lot about the Canadian penchant for taking care of others without prejudgment -- and that's a good thing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Est une oeuvre de fiction March 4 2015
By Hui Shen ben Israel - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
MANESIA: THE JAMES BRIGHTON ENIGMA (French and English, subtitled, Orig. title amnesie: L'Enigma James Brighton, 2005, 90 minutes) ~

Matthew Honeycutt [a/k/a James Brighton] - Dusan Dukic

Sylvie - Karyne Lemieux

Dr. Montoya - Ginette Boivin

Felix Blain - Norman Helms

James Brighton [a/k/a "the real James Brighton"] - Steven Turpin

Based on the true story of Matthew Honeycutt of Tennessee, this marvelous, unpretentious Canadian production will reduce you to tears in a couple of places. It is 1998, very chilly October in Montreal. A young gay man awakens in a parking area completely nude, disoriented, cold and injured. He finds his clothes, dresses and soon the police have him admitted to the nearest hospital. He can recall his name is James Brighton and that he is gay. His amnesia is otherwise complete.

Thanks to Felix Blain, of an organization that is called "SOS Gay" (based on the Canadian gay hotline GAY ECOUTE), 'James' is helped, finds a place to stay (with Felix but there is no funny business) and thanks to Dr. Montoya he is able to recover physically and learn French. I was stunned at the number of French speakers in this bilingual place, but then I do not know it at all. It was like he was in France or Belgium. This film, though choppy and confusing, is a must-see. It is the only honest record we have of a true case that has had me stumped for almost 20 years.

This film, of course, has taken some liberties and the poetic license is quite fascinating to be honest about it. The real-life case left a lot of unanswered mysteries that this film fills in for us in a clever way. The mysterious criminology student Sylvie is writing up the case for her doctoral thesis. We never know how she gets to know 'James' or what her thesis actually discusses other than loss of memory due to traumatic emotional stress. I found it too contrived, yet it works. I think the thing I found most off-putting was the performance of Dusan Dukic as 'James/Matthew'. Though he does well enough, he is also at the level of a college theatrical student with much enthusiasm but too little talent. However, the film has some startling cinematic tricks I loved: a varying shooting style, everything from classic old 'flashback' scenes to modern news reports made directly to the viewer rather than to a news crew.

I demerited one star for the lack of cohesion in one or two spots, which adds unnecessary confusion to this excellent film--and for the horrifically tiny subtitles. Unless you are super-fluent in French, you'll need those subtitles as there is no dubbing option, nor should there be. But it still costs the film in the end, because the main audience is obviously meant to be American.

You must see this, if you haven't already. The true story of Matt Honeycutt of Tennessee who thought he was James Brighton of New Jersey is heartbreaking and this, which is about him, comes closest to telling it in full. That is the strange thing: some of it can only be told through weird, brief flashbacks/nightmares James suffers. Others are conjectures by Sylvie the doctorate student. Her reconstruction of what might have occurred will stun you to pieces. The Canadians are like the French, with a way to bring heavy, important philosophical queries to the table without seeming to do any heavy lifting.

In this case, it is not only the question of gay anguish and homophobia, but the broader issue of who we are, why we are, and what we must become. All of this is so ugly and sad, the Canadians seem to be saying, when you literally do not know who you are--or who you're supposed to be. The film suggests Matthew may have come from a closeted background, run into trouble more times than he could handle--then here he is with amnesia, having to pretend all over again in yet another disgusting way. I tell you, as odd as this story is, you'll understand what he is enduring.

DVD WARNING: This film seems devilishly hard to get in Region 1 NTSC, despite being a Canadian film. PAL Region 2 editions abound like bunnies at Easter, but even my seller could not be certain if my copy was going to be NTSC or PAL. The risk paid off, but it was a dumb thing to do. Please check with your seller and make them check for you to be sure you're getting the NTSC version.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A flight from responsibility is often the response to extreme trauma Dec 5 2012
By Whiteagle - Published on
Verified Purchase
This analysis by a young criminologist writing her PhD on an unsolved mystery provides lots of questions about the way the psyche responds to trauma. Actually there are several layers of flight from reality which makes this case so interesting and confusing. Having experienced amnesia myself due to a fatal auto accident which killed my friend, this film spoke to my experience. Unlike the main character I had a supportive grandmother and girlfriend who made it easier to assimilate the horror and regain my memory. Self-love is a key factor in wanting to remember who we are. We have something good to return to. This young man has none of these things and his anmesia is his refuge as well as his prision. Definitely makes us think about our lives, our loves, and how we create ourselves through our actions.