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Beyond the Black Rainbow

A film seemingly inspired by the most obtuse sequences from 2001, Solaris, TX1138 and other 1960s and '70s sci-fi think-pieces

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It's the year 1983, and in some unexplained place — a research facility, a hospital? — a creepy guy watches and possibly mind-controls a teen-age girl; one or both may be activating, or being controlled by, a throbbing pyramid. This interaction takes about an hour. Then some more unexplained stuff happens. Canadian filmmaker Panos Cosmatos' debut is certainly audacious — Beyond is a retro dystopic sci-fi/mystery that might have been a midnight cult film in the early 1970s if it hadn't been made today. (Cosmatos seems inspired by the most obtuse sequences from 2001, Solaris, TX1138 and other 1960s and '70s sci-fi think-pieces.)

The film is less experimental than experiential: The goal seems to be to feel it rather than understand it. To that end, there are super close-ups, scenes saturated with a single color, grainy images and an old-school synthesizer score from Jeremy Schmidt (Sinoia Caves, Black Mountain). But not much plot. Or dialogue. And when people speak, they do so really really slowly. So it's not inconceivable your experience will be confusion and boredom. Or you might dig the weirdo, lo-fi ride. Starts Fri., June 15. Hollywood, Dormont

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