Strawberry Mansion

Strawberry Mansion
Running time:90 minutes
Director:Kentucker Audley, Albert Birney
Release date:Not communicated
James Preble (Kentucker Alder) loves Cap'n Kelly fried chicken so much that he dreams about it at night. And James knows a thing or two about dreams, since he works as a dream auditor for the government. Indeed, the systematic recording of dreams is mandatory for all citizens, and if a dream contains monetary content, the dreamer is taxed! One day, a mysterious letter leads James to the farm of Arabella Isadora (Penny Fuller), an eccentric old woman who owns years of unaudited VHS dream recordings. While undertaking this colossal task, our intrepid auditor meets a young Arabella (played by the lovely Grace Glowicki), and in the process discovers a priceless dream world and the secret of her - and our - famous obsession with delicious fried chicken.

Mulder's Review

The directors of Sylvio, Kentucker Audley, Albert Birney are back with another film just as crazy. After missing Strawberry Mansion at Sundance earlier this year, we were finally able to see this film at the Canadian Fantasia festival. We have to admit that their new film seems to be a barely disguised homage to the madness and grandeur of Monty Python and we will think in particular of Terry Gilliam's films Brazil (1985) and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) by this zany mixture of reality and a surrealist mon and the poetry that comes from this film. 

We discover from the first minutes of the film, a world where the government records and taxes dreams.  James Preble (Kentucker Alder) is a modest dream checker but he finds himself drawn into a cosmic journey through the life and dreams of an eccentric elderly Arabella Isadora (Penny Fuller). What follows is a journey into a world worthy of the one shown in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) with a multitude of excellent ideas despite a small budget that does not hinder the magical charm of this film.

The directors and screenwriters Kentucker Audley, Albert Birney continue to take the cinema as a real playground and to build films that bear their stamp. In the same way the image of the film is very particular because they wanted to shoot in digital to be able to transform the image into a 16mm suite. This constant care to propose a different film and a dreamlike universe makes that Strawberry Mansion carries a different glance on our society and will invent a different one in which everything is taxed. In the same way it is interesting to see in this film a way to make fun of the omnipresence of advertisements of all kinds in our daily life (including here in dreams). It is thus impossible not to see in this film a satire of our current society and to see that the evil can be present everywhere including in the descent of Arabella Isadora which kept and preserved its dreams on VHS.

Certainly Strawberry Mansion shows that American independent cinema compensates for its lack of budget with many wonderful ideas. It emerges a timeless modern tale even if the action of the film takes place in 2035, nothing in the setting will make you think of such a difference between our current society and the one depicted here. With its retro-futuristic design, this film is certainly a beautiful questioning of our current society and an irresistible invitation to travel.

Strawberry Mansion
Written and directed by Kentucker Audley, Albert Birney
Producers: Emma Hannaway, Matisse Rifai, Sarah Winshall, Taylor Ava Shung
Executive producers: Alex Plapinger, Adam Kersh, James Belfer, Adam Belfer, Andrew Belfer, Elaine Thomas, Todd Remis, David Moscow, Tim Headington, Theresa Steele Page  
Starring Kentucker Audley, Reed Birney, Penny Fuller, Grace Glowicki, Linas Phillips
Music by Dan Deacon
Cinematography: Tyler Davis
Edited by Kentucker Audley, Albert Birney 
Production companies : Ley Line Entertainment, Kaleidoscope Entertainment, Salem Street Entertainment, UnLtd Productions, Cartuna
Running time : 90 minutes

Seen on July 28 (Fantasia screener press)

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