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'Before I Go to Sleep' and four more films about amnesia

Colin Firth, as Ben Lucas, chooses what memories

Colin Firth, as Ben Lucas, chooses what memories to share and what secrets to keep from his amnesiac wife, Christine, played by Nicole Kidman in the film, "Before I Go To Sleep." Credit: AP / Laurie Sparham

Nicole Kidman in "Before I Go to Sleep" is far from films' first amnesia victim, because there's something primal about memory loss. Without our memories, are we who we are? Does memory speak to our very identities? If only I could remember. . . . But wait -- I seem to recall that many movies deal with amnesia, including these four:

Spellbound (1945) Suspense master Alfred Hitchcock directed this classic about a mental-hospital doctor (Gregory Peck) who discovers he somehow took over the identity of a dead man. Salvador Dali designed the film's unforgettable dream sequence.

Mister Buddwing (1966) James Garner plays a man who awakens on a New York park bench with his mind a blank in humanist director Delbert Mann's adaptation of an Evan Hunter novel.

Memento (2000) Director Christopher Nolan's breakout film follows a man (Guy Pearce) with anterograde amnesia -- his mind cannot store recent memories.

The Bourne Identity (2002) A wounded American (Matt Damon) is fished from the sea, his memory gone. The CIA knows he's spy Jason Bourne. They're going to wish they hadn't known that.

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