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Goldfish Memories

Fri 28 May 2004 In: Movies

GOLDFISH MEMORY Dir: Liz Gill, Ireland, 2003, 35mm, 85mins Reviewed by Chris Banks The memory of a goldfish is but three seconds long, according to Tom, an English professor and one of the characters in Goldfish Memory, this year's Out Takes opener for Auckland. But then again, according to one of the other characters, that's an urban legend. I'm with her, personally, but Tom takes his analogy further, likening the memory of a goldfish to the nature of humans in love - each time we do, we magically forget the hurts of the past and dive in headfirst. If that all sounds a bit deep, then don't worry. This is billed an exploration of the "comical nature of love", but it's equally an exploration of love and attraction with no gender boundaries. In this Irish gem, men love women, who in their turn love women, whose boyfriends leave them for other men. Aging-but-rugged Tom would like love and commitment but seems to be a serial monogamist. His student lover Clara sees him kissing Isolde, and Tom loses them both. A chance meeting with TV journo Angie sees Clara exploring a whole new side of herself, but when that doesn't work out Angie turns to best friend Red for comfort. Blokey Red has eyes for the sweet bartender David, and the feeling is mutual, but how will David get rid of his sex-starved Catholic girlfriend? Shot on video and transferred to film, Goldfish Memory for the most part looks very good, with some odd angles and compositions giving us the feel that the characters are actually inside their metaphorical goldfish bowl. In fact, there's so many weird tilts you get the feeling that director Liz Gill was a big fan of either The Third Man or the old Batman TV series - or perhaps both. (Watch for the nod to The Graduate near the end as well). All the characters and couplings are charming, and there is a happy ending for everyone. Gill manages to juggle the multiple storylines very well for the most part, but the balance gets knocked out a bit in the last third, as some characters seem to drop off the face of the earth and some of the complications get resolved a little too quickly. It's best just to check your cynicism at the door, and surrender yourself to the Irish charm and the fluidity of sexuality on show, which I'm sure is as much an urban myth as the goldfish memory theory - or is it? Chris Banks - 28th May 2004    

Credit: Chris Banks

First published: Friday, 28th May 2004 - 12:00pm

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