Sunday, March 16, 2014

Insomniac Theater Presents: H.P. Mendoza's I am a Ghost

I started this blog in 2010, when I became ill and couldn't sleep.  The Insomniac Theater  was a chance to dump some of the obsessive thoughts into the larger muck pond of the Internet. My daughter's cat, Olivia, would pad into  my room as I set up my laptop and put on headphones.  Tucked under my chin, she would watch the colors of on laptop screen while I explored all the movies I could get my hands on.  We were a weird pair, me with my nearly useless limbs and this scrawny, angry black cat the only two creatures awake in the house.  A perfect time for ghost stories.

 H.P. Mendoza's ghostly chiller I Am a Ghost would have been a perfect movie for those nights.

 Although sparsely filmed, I Am a Ghost is gorgeous to watch, taking place in entirely in a beautifully furnished Victoria Mansion.  Emily (played by the lovely Anna Ishida) , the titular ghost,  roams these halls, cooking, cleaning, reading, oblivious to her fate.  One day she encounters Sylvia (voiced by Jeannie Barroga, who sounds like Joan Cusack), a modern day medium.  Sylvia's task is to exorcise the house from Emily's presence.  To do this, she must bond with Emily and nurture her along to some level of self awareness and maturity like a patient teacher working with a backward child.

Writer-director (and he wrote "When They've Gone Away," a song that Emily teaches Sylvia) Mendoza doesn't waste a single one of the film's scant 75 minute running time.  His first foray into full length feature film fear mongering drops the viewer onto Emily's loose ball of thread world and immediately begins unraveling it under our feet.  By the final act, Emily's confusion and terror had become mine.  It was a long time before I got to sleep last night.

Those long nights of 2010 are behind me now: I am sleeping better and can walk again. Olivia has left this world, no doubt shedding disdain and dander on other, more evolved plains than ours. Watching Emily's attempt to grow and recapture her person hood took me back to my days of lonely confusion and tiny handle that helped keep me anchored.

I Am a ghost is available as VOD from many sources, including iTunes and Google Play and there will be a DVD release later this spring.  It was definitely money well spent.

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