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Sundance 2021: “Strawberry Mansion”


Rating: 3 out of 5.

Can youmagine living in a time where even our dreams would get taxed? Videos or any unconscious life we had in those is something we must pay for? Interesting thought, isn’t it? And that’s the exact premise and much more that is explored in “Strawberry Mansion”.

Set in 2035, James Preble (Kentucker Audley), a Federal government employee, arrives at a remote farmhouse of an elderly woman, “Bella” Isadora (Penny Fuller), to audit her dreams. She is an artist whose collection of VHS archive contains a lifetime of dreams. James is a very dedicated person who shows no emotions whatsoever. But as soon as the man meets the younger Bella, he begins changing within, as he becomes gentler, considerate and a great risk-taker who would do anything to not get separated with the only thing that brings him love – Bella’s image.

Written and directed by Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney, who both star in the film which offers an extraordinary journey into the not-so-distant future where people’s dreams can be seen by a federal employee. He can choose to erase them or tax them. At first, James is very determined to do his job and leave. But when the bond between the two grows, the woman tells him, “James, we are more connected than you know about.” At first, he did not understand her words but soon he understands fully as his life will depend on Bella and her influence on him.

“Strawberry Mansion” is an eccentric film in its own way, same as Isadora. As it has a good storyline, the film is shot more like a home video, which is not a bad thing. It’s engaging, even though predictable, but interesting enough for you to continue watching it. The main takeaway from it is to never underestimate dreams or memories; their existence is a big gift many can’t afford.

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