The Institute (2013)
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Critic Reviews for The Institute
Doesn't always distinguish between fact and fiction, about an interesting social and artistic experiment.
"The Institute" stumbles between documentary and exploratory simulation, at once confusing and pedantic.
Eventually, the documentary's limited perspective becomes a liability when the screen goes dark and we're left with more questions than answers. Adventures only take us so far.
Rarely have I felt so absorbed by a movie about people I found so incredibly annoying.
Audience Reviews for The Institute
I was fully engaged and entertained at this curious documentary which allows the viewer to explore one of the more interesting conceptual art projects I've ever seen. Odd and sort of magical.
"The Institute," is a documentary by Spencer McCall that documents the story of an alternate reality game in San Francisco a few years ago in which some 10,000 people participated, a hoax-based story world that revolves around a kind of EST-like cult, the mystery of a missing girl, and a lot of real-world activities on the streets. While McCall can't replicate the experiences of those involved, we get a sense of the experience through interviews with many of those involved, including the creators, the participants (including a few who are mentally ill), and occasionally capturing scenes as they unfold. By the end, some viewers might themselves wonder what is "real" and what was manufactured for either the game or the film. I liked this because it reminded me that we don't really have any way to archive these time-limited experiments. Even those which are entirely digital may suddenly vanish with the fortunes of the companies housing the data.
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