In Reality, It’s All Just a Game

​Review of The Institute at Northwest Film Forum

The Institute is a documentary about the pseudo-fictional Jejune Institute in California. I say pseudo-fictional because it is real in the sense that it exists in real life. However, in reality, it is not the mysterious organization of inventors and revolutionaries that it appears to be at first glance. In reality, it's both much more and much less than that. In reality, it's all just a game--a live-action, roleplaying game put on by a small group of people.

The film starts with a good, eye-catching opening that takes us around San Francisco and shows us some of the fliers for the Jejune Institute. It presents a compelling mystery from the start: what is the Jejune Institute? And what do they do?

There are more mysteries presented as well: the secret behind the Elsewhere Agency, behind the motives of Jejune, and (perhaps most compellingly) the mystery of Eva, a young woman who disappeared many years prior and who may form the link between the organizations.

The movie is cut and presented slightly confusingly. It can be hard to tell what, exactly, was going on with the Jejune Institute and where the line between fiction and reality is drawn. Though, to be fair, accounts of the actual, real-life experience report that it was confusing in real life, too; so it's not a huge leap to assume that the confusing cut was intentional.

Overall, though? The Institute draws you into the story (even if it does take a while) and it gets you emotionally attached. I would recommend seeing it—as confusing as it can be, it's an incredibly entertaining watch with a mystery and a message that will keep your mind turning for hours.

The Institute
Northwest Film Forum
October 18 - 24

TeenTix Logo
Sign Up


Create an account | Reset your password