Review: The Man Whose Mind Exploded

Man Mind Exploded

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Drako Zarharzar lived a life that to many of us would seem a colourful whirlwind: he performed at the Moulin Rouge, starred in an Andy Warhol film, and modelled for Salvador Dali. However, the story of Drako, captured beautifully and brutally by director Toby Amies, is nothing like you’d expect.

Self-proclaimed exhibitionist Drako was always ready for the ‘theatre of life’, with his blue eyebrows, painted moustache and many tattoos, after he suffered two major accidents, the first taking him almost a decade to recover from. The events left him with amnesia, and the ability to live ‘completely in the now’. According to Drako, he loves every moment of it. However, his gift for living in the moment seems at odds with his reality, bringing a lot of heart-wrenching worry to his family, and quite clearly to director Toby Amies as well.

Stubborn to his unique way of life, Drako has ‘TRUST ABSOLUTE UNCONDITIONAL’ tattooed on his arm, describing his philosophy perfectly (he is a philosopher after all, as mentioned in his passport). After those two accidents, two mental break-downs and two suicide attempts, Drako holds that this is his seventh life, and he’s utterly determined to live it in his own wonderful, bizarre, convention-defying ways.

In response to his clouding memory, Drako has turned his home into a work of art: as his nephew Marc puts it, when you are sitting in Drako’s little Brighton home, you are ‘sitting in his mind’. Old photographs, magazine cut-outs and various other beloved bits are stuck to the walls, some hanging from the ceiling on dangling string, including plenty of photos of very naked men.

As Amies says on film’s website, ‘I wanted to understand him; I end up caring for him as his unique philosophy “TRUST ABSOLUTE UNCONDITIONAL” conflicts with reality. The film is a collaboration between us, a record of a relationship that brought me great joy and wonder but also real pain. It left me wondering if you can only ever truly love someone if you can see the world from their point of view.  If they have severe mental impairment that is quite a challenge.”

Receiving four stars from The Guardian, The Times and The Independent (and being named ‘documentary of the year’ by Bizarre magazine), ‘The Man Whose Mind Exploded’ is truly something to behold. Toby Amies has allowed us to celebrate the intricate, insane, indisputable beauty in life, as seen through Drako’s eyes – pink sunglasses and all.

Nickie Shobeiry

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