Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

All stories are lost in a soup of subconscious, unless recorded somewhere. Arsenic is a film about the sheer fallibility of organic decaying human memory. It’s languidly paced, filled with dreary, unfocused images - just as we might get a handle on what is being viewed, it cuts away to another equally destitute image.

The voiceover is that of an old woman speaking - her speech is full of “ums” and “ahs” - pauses and failures to reconnect with the initial train of consciousness, with rare lucidity. The speaker would be hard pressed to tell a tale if the film were the length of Berlin Alexanderplatz.

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It’s a like extracting a residual thought or ancient forgotten memory from a person suffering from dementia. I almost didn't notice the film's slow change to black and white footage. It’s purposefully constructed, and to this point well-made, and deliberately frustrating stuff.

Reviewed on: 17 Jun 2011
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A contemplation of the fallibility of memory, especially as we age.
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Director: Robert Todd

Year: 2011

Runtime: 11 minutes

Country: US


EIFF 2011

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