Restoration of Memories: What Factors Make Up the Driving Forces of Our Identity?

Backing up our memories seems like a logical concept to reflect on, considering that they are often unreliable and erroneous; the mind often having a mind of it’s own. We are able to remember obscure and minute occurrences, while forgetting the majority of events that happen throughout our everyday lives. This being said, memories also play a huge role in the make up of our skillset, language, and overall development. We are inspired by our experiences and continue to shape and reshape our attributed personalities from what we are exposed to overtime. If it is these memories that solely make up who we are, then how far does this fluidity go when taking into account other’s perception of ourselves?


The themes of TOTAL RECALL and FREAKY FRIDAY come together in Stuart Willis’s film, RESTORATION. In this sci-fi thriller, a man wakes up in a body that is not his own after undergoing a procedure to “backup” his memories. This is done so that in the event of death, those memories have the possibility of being uploaded into a new body. While watching this near-future set film, we are given the opportunity to explore the association with identity in the physical and mental self. This idea of separating the mind from the body has been an ongoing and enduring theme throughout cinematic history. Once the idea of isolating the physical and mental aspects that make up who we are, we start questioning all the things that we associate with our own identity. Some of these factors include: appearance, behaviors, personality and memories. But which one of these factors most relates to what it means to have a unique sense of self? Scientists and filmmakers alike have long been drawn to the idea of the detachment of these entities from each other.


While the film TOTAL RECALL hints to a similar theme of altering someone’s memories through technological advances, it fails to explore the idea of extracting these memories, with the possibility of transmitting them into a different host or human being. This idea of the ability to change identities in the physical form has also been a theme that has been contemplated throughout history. It became popularized through the well-known example of the novel and screenplay, FREAKY FRIDAY. Adding this complex idea of what makes up the self then brings up not only how the mind affects the body but also how the body affects our strength, health, abilities, and skillset. In this sense, our physical bodies themselves are yet another factor making up our identity. This concept itself can be quite confusing! Or possibly I am just purposely trying to lead you into a state of perpetual confusion.


Our relationship with technology is constantly evolving. As we continue to make new advancements and discoveries, we grow closer to new possibilities that have previously been remotely set aside for science fiction, now becoming a reality. Science fiction films have been the driving force of inspiration for artificial intelligence and medical-related restoration that have already been set in place for present day developments. Watching futuristic technological films often reminds us of the never-ending possibilities ahead and the inevitable notion that these advancements could often have unexpected consequences. We will continue to be intrigued by the mystery of these future advancements as their relationship with humanity continues to evolve.

RESTORATION screens at Other Worlds Austin on Sunday, December 10th at 3:00pm. FULL LINEUP HERE!