September 10th 2014
Toby Amies: Director of 'The Man Whose Mind Exploded'
Drako Oho Zaraharzar can remember modelling for Salvador Dali and hanging out with The Stones. But he can’t remember yesterday. Filmed over four years, The Man Whose Mind Exploded attempts to understand and accept the worldview of someone with serious brain damage, and it resonates for anyone who’s tried to care for someone who may not be great at caring for themselves. Following a severe head injury, Drako Zaraharzar suffers from terrible memory loss; he can access memories from before his accident, but can’t imprint new ones. As he puts it, “the recording machine in my head doesn’t work”. Consequently, and as an antidote to depression, he chose to live “completely in the now” and in accordance with the bizarre mottos delivered to him whilst in a coma. Toby Amies starts off making a film exploring Drako’s lurid and exotic backstory including work with Dali, Warhol’s Factory, Les Folies Bergère, and Derek Jarman. But frighteningly soon a line is crossed, and the documentary maker becomes carer. Drako’s way of life and the extraordinary collage of notes to self and erotic art he lives in [the source of the film’s title] threatens his health. What follows is unique, eccentric, funny and moving documentary about the relationship between two men, one who’s trying to make a film about the other, who’s existing in what appears to be a separate reality.
I spoke to the director Toby Amies [or Toby Jug as Drako called him] about the utterly unique and heart warming Drako, and the making of a very special film.