Strawberry Mansion: A great sci-fi premise with trippy, arthouse execution

The trailer for Strawberry Mansion

In the world of the new artsy, sci-fi film Strawberry Mansion, society has developed the technology to record dreams. And in typical over-the-top Silicon Valley fashion, if someone can track people’s thoughts and actions, they’ll definitely try to monetize it. The government now has a team of auditors that reviews these dreams and applies a small tax on certain goods that appear. Dreaming about a hot air balloon? That’ll be $0.52. Have thoughts of maple trees dancing through your head? A modest $0.08, please.

James Preble (played by writer/director Kentucker Audley) works as a dream auditor. And he’s been assigned to audit the dream inventory of an older woman named Bella (Penny Fuller). Unfortunately, Bella hasn’t kept up with technology very well and all her dreams have been stored on old VHS tapes instead of the more modern (and USB-like) dreamstick technology. So, this audit will take a bit longer than usual. Accordingly, Preble ends up staying with Bella for a few days in the spare room of her giant, countryside house.

While Preble stays with Bella and inventories her dreams, however, he starts to take up some kind of relationship with the young Bella he meets in these dreams. And the longer he stays with present day Bella, the more he begins to learn there may be more to this dream inventory technology than he originally believed. “Do you believe your dreams are your own?” she asks one day over ominous afternoon tea.

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