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Memory Games

MEMORY GAMES depicts four memory athletes as they prepare for the world championship in Indonesia. Their secret is the “memory palace,“ a method that connects the stored information to visual and emotional stimuli.


A film about memory sport championships could come off like a freak show. People who can remember 145 words in 5 minutes and solve Rubik‘s cube without looking could be socially awkward savants who aren‘t fun to listen to. MEMORY GAMES proves the opposite. The four memory athletes do incredible things and are absolutely open. For Johannes from Magdeburg, who shifted his ambition for table tennis to remembering after being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, and American Nelson, who can remember numbers quicker while climbing Mount Everest than at home, it is simply a sport that you have to train for and can measure yourself by. The film lets them tell their stories, along with Simon from Munich and Swedish-Mongolian Yanjaa, before they all compete against each other in the world championship in Indonesia. But it‘s also about the power of recollection and its relevance in culture, religion, society, and the business world. The secret of their seemingly überhuman memories are “memory palaces,“ a method that ties information with visual or emotional stimuli and builds an individual construct which they quickly fly through and remember. Introduced by a BBC guest star and visualised in 3D animation, the accomplishments still seem imposing and somewhat cryptic, but it‘s a skill that everyone can use. In these times when we depend on digital storage and the constant availability of information, organic memory is an expression of one‘s own strength in an otherwise overwhelming flood of sensations.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Deutschland/USA/Schweden 2018, 85 min
Genre: Documentary
Director: Janet Tobias, Claus Wehlisch
Author: Janet Tobias, Claus Wehlisch
DOP: Zac Nicholson
Montage: Claus Wehlisch
Music: John Piscitello
Distributor: Neue Visionen
Release: 03.10.2019


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