IN SEARCH OF MEMORY is a cinematographic homage to one of the greatest researchers of our generation–Eric Kandel. He is an 83 year-young, Nobel Prize-winning and game-changing neuroscientist who also happens to possess a witty, sentimental and loving persona. In the 95-minute film by Petra Seeger, we get an inside look at the personal history of a wonderful man with a complex mind on an extra-ordinary journey.
Kandel’s life, both personal and academic, carefully and engagingly unfolds in the biographical documentary. Revealing the events that developed and solidified Eric’s signature character, it shows Kandel’s struggle coping with his painful childhood in Nazi-occupied Vienna, his family’s immigration to America, and the resulting obstacles of building a life and legacy in a new country.
It also warmly unravels the hardships he faced planting his own roots, which didn’t come easily as the young scientist had to find a balance between his work and family. The film paints an engrossing portrait of a person driven by his passions, inspired by his experiences, and how they provide the context for his work.
The documentary takes Kandel back to his Vienna apartment and reacquaints him with the people who helped save the lives of his family. It also reveals the cultural and spiritual connection he has to Judaism, which ultimately gave him a reason to embrace his faith and heritage. He aims to preserve these findings as his family’s traditions, which he continues to implement during family functions and, of course, memories.
But it also takes us into the academic and scientific world he helped advance with his work. Kandel’s memories, both positive and negative alike, shaped his charismatic personality and drove him to conduct the revolutionary research that is responsible for almost everything we know about how memory works. This allows us to better understand how our brains make and store memories, which is one of the toughest verticals in neuroscience.
IN SEARCH OF MEMORY gives us an in depth glance at the lifelong accomplishments and reflections of a man, who turned out to be much greater than the sum of all his parts. Considered to be one of the most important memory researchers of the 21-century, we hope his memory lives on long after he leaves us.–Liz Belilovskaya
IN SEARCH OF MEMORY: THE NEUROSCIENTIST ERIC KANDEL (Icarus Films) enjoyed a successful theatrical release in 2009. It was recently released on home video.