A hallucinogenic trip into the filmmaker’s figurative navel, “We Are the Strange,” by virtual one-man-show M dot Strange, is a Freudian/spiritual/psycho-dramatic and high-tech catalog of visual imagery through the ages, as well as a plummet into the bramble patch of Strange’s soul. Somewhere at the far side of the movie mall, this is an experimental film for a rare, patient viewership — but it points an arrow toward the future of personal cinema.
The story, such as it is, involves a horribly abused young woman named Blue, who is cast out by her demon lover only to wander the Forest of Still Life, where she meets the doll-like Emmm. On their quest for ice cream, they encounter a parade of demons, mirages and broken toys, culminating in what is really a Judeo-Christian feminist redemption parable.
Strange may rely on old devices to achieve his emotional impact — one of which is a sheer torrent of visual stimuli meant to overwhelm his audience — but the context is something new.
Although three years were reportedly required to make the film — which references everything from medieval emblems to magic lanterns to shadow puppetry to Terry Gilliam collage art — the effect is as close to pure stream-of-consciousness cinema. The gap between imagination and realization has narrowed to where Strange’s often nightmarish wanderings seem to have been committed to film almost instantaneously. It may not always be entertainment, but it is fascinating.