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SIFF 2011 Movie Reviews: You Are Here, The Most Important Thing in Life...

The theme for these film reviews is "movies that mess with your mind", and I mean that in a good way! I love films that play on the surrealistic side of things, that challenge your mind and offer up new and refreshing ideas and story lines, and these two films have all of these qualities in spades!

You Are Here: It calls itself a "Meta-Detective Story" and really, that's probably the most accurate description for this wildly inventive movie. I don't think I can praise this film enough. Delightfully surreal, bizarrely subversive, subtly brilliant, filled with riddles and rhymes, questions and convolutions, this movie is like a puzzle box, with layers upon layers, stories upon stories, all of them twisting and twining about one another, invading each other's space, teasing you with mysteries and wild ideas. It's more than just a film, it's a brain twister. It opens your mind up, peeling back the layers of cynicism and predictability. Then it artfully sparks your creativity and ingenuity, exposing you to all the possibilities of both the possible and the impossible. It's definitely not going to be the sort of film that appeals to everybody. There's no real story or narrative, but rather a collection of what seems on the surface to be absurdist tales, but are in truth very intelligent, perceptive and thought provoking. From a "real life" recreation of John Searle's Chinese Room by the Scientist, to the collection of the Archivist which is starting to defy her attempts to catalog and control it, to the mystery of the door that leads to nowhere, to the Travel Analysts that track routes and arrivals where no two people can be in the same place at the same time, this film playfully challenges our perceptions of ourselves, of identity, of consciousness, of purpose, and ultimately of the mind and how it functions. It's the sort of movie that I feel like I need to see two or maybe even three more times to really 'get' it, and I�want to do that! It teases me and tempts me with flashes of its true meaning and insights into its depths. I want to see it again and again to figure it out like the elaborate riddle that it is. If you want to see something fresh, something new and inventive, I cannot recommend this film enough. It only plays once more, TODAY, so if you can see it, SEE IT!! Canada, 2010 (78 minutes) Director: Daniel Cockburn Cast: Tracy Wright, R.D. Reid, Anand Rajaram, Nadia Litz Festival Screenings 9:30 PM Wed, May 25 Harvard Exit 4:30 PM Thu, May 26 Harvard Exit

The Most Important Thing in Life is Not Being Dead: An elderly man, a piano tuner by trade, enters into a uncharacteristic period of insomnia during which he begins to hear and see things that don't seem possible and, in turn begins to ponder his past and his unusual 'gift' as he tries to unravel what is happening to him now and what it all means. This is a most unusual film. The first thing that I would say is that you cannot go into this film with any expectations or preconceived notions. The second thing that needs to be said is that you cannot make any assumptions or create any expectations while you are�watching this film. If you do so, you do so at your own risk of tainting the experience! At first this movie seems to present itself very much as a wonderful sort of magical realism or surrealist fantasy sort of film. But do not be deceived, for things are definitely not as they appear... or disappear!�I�loved how this film started. It is wonderfully mysterious and charming and quirky and strange. Black & white film lives side by side in perfect harmony with color. Characters are intriguing, charming, and hilariously peculiar. Right from the start your views and opinions about reality are challenged and teased with strange ideas and imagery. Alas, making assumptions about what sort of film this was going to be proved to be my downfall. For when the story and circumstances changed, I was too in love with my concept of the film and was, in turn, disappointed. I had to spend some time struggling with my assumptions and wishes to reopen myself to the film and it is this experience, dear reader, that I hope to protect you from. Regardless of this need to reset and reopen my mind, I still found the movie to be a visual delight and a curious adventure. Switzerland/Spain, 2010 (82 minutes) Directors: Olivier Pictel, Pablo Martin Torrado, Mark Recuenco Cast: Emilio Gutierrez Caba, Marian Aguilera, Merce Montala Director Pablo Martin Torrado scheduled to attend. Festival Screenings: 9:30 PM Thu, June 9 Egyptian Theatre 1:30 PM Sat, June 11 Pacific Place Cinemas