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‘Mnemophrenia’ review: Intelligent sci-fi with real world ramifications

Thanks for the memories.

Mnemophrenia is off shoot of the ever popular found footage sub genre. At times, it can be described as a fake documentary.  Not to be confused with the mockumentary (another fun type of film), the movie never becomes outright satire. It is instead a look at the increasing reliance on technology and the mental illnesses that come with it.

The premise almost sounds like a comedy. A quick look at some of the comments on social media will give an idea of the problems or causes. Mnemophrenia is three interweaving stories involving people over generations that deal with the effects of this reality. It would be easy to dismiss the plot as an attempt at “intelligent” science fiction. Writer/director Eirini Konstantinidou is a lecturer in film at Essex University in England, after all So it is unsurprising when the film goes beyond social commentary.

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But Mnemophrenia never tries to wow its audience with purple prose or high level science. There is lots of talk of new technology, but that is to be expected from a sci fi movie. Instead, the story here is more of a philosophical journey. The central question revolves around what is reality. In a rarity, Mnemophrenia is not set in a dystopian future. In fact, it takes an optimistic view that adds to the theme of the movie. This allows the viewer to think more about the questions the movie poses.

There is an improvisational quality to Mnemophrenia that cuts both ways. On the one hand, it brings a natural quality to the film. This is another case of the story taking precedent over the setting. The noticeable downside is some scenes lack the fluidity seen in other parts of the movie. Thankfully, nothing negatively impacts the film.

'Mnemophrenia' review: Intelligent sci-fi with real world ramifications

Mnemophrenia is a methodically paced movie. There is plenty of exposition to further plot. While there are a lot of moments involving characters holding conversations, Konstantinidou also has a clever way of delivering information. There are pop ups and prompts that give further information on the screen. Not only does it provide more information, it adds to the technological setting of the film.

Heady science fiction movies tend to lose their way. The first viewing tends to impress, but the reliance on science over story causes them to crumble under further scrutiny. Mnemophrenia can be described as a thinking person’s sci fi story. There is a lot to take in here. But strong writing and an interesting premise ensure it never loses its audience.

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