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But content aside, what makes The Institute work is elsewhere indeed. Like one of Jejune's oblique product flyers, McCall maintains a palpable distance from his study, relying instead on a flux of symbols and gestures that shepherd the viewer down several paths at once. In doing so, his film simulates the same sort of trapdoor from reality so tantalizing about its subject. No doubt, it's one of the most unique documentaries I've seen in a while. And though it's not exactly what it purports to be — and that's as much as I'll say on the matter — the same might very well be said about everyday life. ^

THE INSTITUTE | written and directed by Spencer McCall | May 15 @ 7:30 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St, Portland | $8 |

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