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Film Info

Film Year: 2019

Film Duration: 22 min

Country: Australia

Language: English


James Newitt

Film Category

Best Experimental


Fossil is a short film that explores the lapses in memory and the gaps in language of a person who has suffered brain damage. The film follows a series of exchanges and physical struggles between two men, one older than the other. Aggressive but also affectionate, while it is not clear how the men are related, they are bound together by a certain co-dependency. Fossil begins with a slow pan and a voice over that names the objects in a sparsely furnished, concrete room in slow succession. The objects in shot rarely correspond to what the voice describes. The characters return to this naming exercise repeatedly throughout the film. Objects are re-named as they are recounted. But this is not just a game; the elder man can’t remember. His faculties are compromised, his thinking impaired. This realisation creeps up on us slowly. It is hinted at in the image of an x-ray partly cropped out of shot, in the evasive answers to the question ‘how do you feel today’, in the text that appears occasionally like shy and subtle narrative cues (‘now I don’t re-mem-ber’). Fossil was made 10 years after witnessing my mother suffer a severe cerebral aneurysm and our subsequent struggles with her memory loss and aphasia.