Spanning over two decades of research and innovation from the 1960s to the early-1980s, the Arboria Institute--a secluded New Age commune and a state-of-the-art research facility--and the pill-popping psychiatrist, Dr Barry Nyle, are particularly interested in their newest specimen: the female patient, Elena. To begin to understand her mind-boggling telekinetic and telepathic abilities, the demented doctor keeps Elena heavily sedated and in a constant catatonic state; however, her capabilities are unfathomable. What are Dr Nyle's deeper intentions? In the end, could the institute's utopian doctrine be flawed after all?Written by
In the Arboria Institute's promo film, dated MCMLXVII (1967), the Arboria logo is set in the Avant Garde font. This font was based on the logo of Avant Garde magazine, created in 1968, and wasn't available as a full typeface until 1970. See more »
[while holding baby Elena and before submerging her into the black goo]
Your mother's reabsorption into the cycle of life won't be for nothing, my darling, Elena. You will be the dawning of a new era for the human race... and the human soul. Let the new age of enlightenment begin!
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After the end credits, there is a shot of a Sentionaut action figure lying on the floor while the distorted electronic speech that Nyle heard over the phone is audible in the background. See more »
The sort of thing you like if you're into that sort of thing
A young girl is held under heavy sedation at the mysterious Arboria institute - the brainchild of Dr. Mercurio Arboria, a pioneer of spheres like "benign pharmacology" and "energy sculpting". She is under the ward of Dr. Barry Nyle, who has taken a special interest in her case. Who is she? Will she escape?
You may have read reviews where the critics mercilessly lambaste it, saying stuff like "I have no idea what they were thinking letting this crap into the festival", "vomit-inducing bore", etc. If you are curious whether or not this is worth your time, let me just point a few things out:
1. Yes, it does have a plot, and most (if not all) of the scenes are in service to that plot - in other words, no random visuals simply for the sake of random visuals. Though conceptually weird, everything you see is more or less explainable in some way or another by the internal logic of the film. Anyone who wrote "plot loosely centers around" or anything similar in their review simply didn't understand what was going on.
2. Sure, it's long and quite slow. So if you are not into the film's aesthetic (see trailer), you will probably get bored. But if you are into drony synth scores, atmospheric horror cinematography a la Dario Argento, viscerally creepy characters, and slow-moving psychedelia (if you have, um, access, you should really heed the director's advice before starting to watch this), then it's pretty freakin' awesome. Were you totally blown away by Enter The Void? Then you might like this.
3. It is definitely not sloppy or unfinished in any way. This is a highly-polished, careful piece of work that stays true to its own vision of what it should be. It should be respected for that, if for nothing else.
Personally, I am glad I can support cinema like this with my $10. This is definitely not for everyone, but it rewards its fans. It did have a few minor drawbacks, which I suspect are the result of a rather tight budget (it's a debut, and a risky one at that). The pacing itself was fine, but the Arboria institute could have used slightly more variety - a little bit more setting (though what they did with what little they had is amazing), maybe one or two more supporting/incidental characters. Also, it's kind of hard to hear what the characters are saying at times. Somewhat surprising, because the sound design plays a huge role in the film and the person they had did a great job otherwise. So keep your ears open. Finally, the ending *is* a bit on the weak side, although in my opinion it was kind of appropriate even though I can see how people might take issue with it.
All in all, looking forward to seeing what Mr. Cosmatos has in store for us next.
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