A dream auditor gets caught up in the fantastical world of his latest client in Strawberry Mansion. James Preble (Kentucker Alder) is a dream auditor for the government, whose job is to tax items seen in recorded dreams. James arrives at the house of the eccentric Arabella Isadora (Penny Fuller), who has over 2000 dreams stored on VHS tapes. When James begins his audit, he immediately becomes enamored with the fantastical dream worlds and the younger Bella (Grace Glowicki). However, James also becomes aware of a dark secret of the dream world, which attracts negative attention from Arabella's son Peter Bloom (Reed Birney).
Strawberry Mansion is a fantasy film from the writer/director duo of Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney, the former of whom also stars in the film as the protagonist James Preble. The film kicks off in a very surreal and pink dream world, where James is visited by his buddy (Linas Phillips), who brings him Cap'n Kelly fried chicken. This opening scene ends up being quite important to the overall story, as James learns from Arabella that his dreams about fried chicken are actually invasive ads forcibly inserted in dreams. This knowledge ends up being dangerous to James, whose life in both the real and dream world comes under immense danger.
Strawberry Mansion is a very quirky fantasy, which also has some romance and thriller elements to do. The plot of Strawberry Mansion is actually constructed in a way, where the line between reality and dream ends up being a thin one, especially in the second half of the film when we loop back to see scenes we have previously seen from different perspectives. While probably not a film for everyone, Strawberry Mansion is still charming in its own way, thanks particularly to the wonderful screen presence of Grace Glowicki.
Strawberry Mansion is streaming as part of the virtual 2021 Fantasia Film Festival
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