The Institute

{4/5} “The more I pulled on threads, the more the lines were blurred between what I viewed as the insanity I was… experiencing and the insanity of the real world.”

A few years ago in San Francisco something unusual happened. Posters started appearing that led people to a particular building where they would be “inducted.” But inducted into what? It turns out that a bunch of people were involved in an intricate game of sorts, following clues like a scavenger hunt. Some people described it as an “urban playground movement” or “alternate reality game.” And some people took it more seriously.

The Institute was released in 2013. It’s a documentary.

To tell the story of this unique phenomenon the filmmakers interview the creator of the game, Jeff Hull, as well as a bunch of participants. They also show footage taken while people were playing the game.

Who are the participants? People who think this sort of thing is fun — who are willing to do things that might look silly or maybe even a bit dangerous, who are interested in the blurring of fantasy and reality.

After a couple of years the game was brought to a close, with the participants brought together for a seminar. Some people were disappointed with the conclusion but that might have been inevitable given all the build-up.

Some parts of the movie are more interesting than others, but it’s certainly an intriguing concept.

The documentary gives you a glimpse into the strangeness of what it must have been like to participate in the game. Apparently more than 10 000 people participated in it.

The movie was directed by Spencer McCall (the documentary short Rodeo’s Are Special).

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 at 10:42 pm and is filed under Reviews of movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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