Unknown White Male
In early July 2003, a man found himself riding a train through a ramshackle neighborhood with no idea where he was, how he had come to be there, or, more importantly, who he was. Thus begins the story of the extraordinary second half of Douglas Bruce’s life. Compiled from footage shot by director Rupert Murray and by Bruce himself, Unknown White Male recounts Bruce’s new history, from the day he came to his senses on a train to Coney Island, through the extensive (and fruitless) search for an explanation for his extensive memory loss, and on to Bruce coming to grips with his personal blank slate and getting reacquainted with the world—the thirtysomething gets to experience the ocean, fireworks, cheeseburgers, and getting high for the first time all over again. The movie also follows along as he meets his father and sisters and oldest friends (including director Murray)—all strangers to him and unsure how to handle the person they love having effectively disappeared. As a subject Bruce remains opaque—a heartbreaking voice quiver in footage shot six days after his memory loss constitutes his lone emotional display—but Murray does a fine job of framing Bruce’s story around compelling questions about what makes us who we are.