Friday, July 29, 2011

"Imagination", about Asperger's, is a virtual preview of "Tree of Life"

Eric Leiser’s film “Imagination” takes the subject of Asperger’s Syndrome and builds it into a short (70 min) fantasy that pulls together the elements of “Inception” with “The Tree of Life”.

As the film opens, we see twin girls in utero, with a clear moral message that they are already conscious and alive. But one girl is born almost blind and the other seems autistic. She is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is the mildest form of “autism spectrum disorders”.  Never mind, artistically and intellectually gifted people are often socially inhibited in an Asperger’s-like manner.  Roger Ebert has commented (in reviewing “The Social Network”) that geniuses like Mark Zuckerberg and chess prodigy Bobby Fischer exhibited a touch of Asperger’s (which is more common in boys).

Nevertheless, Anna is put under strict supervision by a therapist who will “change” her, but starts processing visions from her blind sister, telepathically. The father leaves home, and the mother dies in an earthquake, which is shown quite graphically through Anna’s eyes, as are many other California scenes (like Mono Lake – a volcano, you know – and Zabriske Point).  Eventually the girls escape their institution, which raises the question as to whether they have entered an alternate universe of their own imagination.  The film (2.35:1 in instant play) is quite stunning visually.

Nikki and Jessie Haddad play the twin girls, and Ed Gildersleeve plays Dr. Reininger, the therapist.

It brings back recollections of attempts at NIH back in 1962 to “change” me.

The film comes from Albino Fawn Productions (link) and Vanguard International.  Albino’s next film will be “Glitch in the Grid”.

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