Phase9 Movies 2000-12

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Year: 2000
UK: Momentum Pictures
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Tom McCamus, Sean McCann, Gabriel Gascon, Rick Miller, Lynn Adams, Griffith Brewer, Daniel Brooks, Dean Hagopian, Eric Hoziel, Laurent Imbault, Simon Lee, Lisa Bronwyn Moore, Jessica Pare, Russell Yuen
Director: Robert Lepage
Country: Canada
UK Release Date: 13 July 2001


According to George Barber, "Each of us exists in an infinite number of possible worlds." It is this proposition that fuels the narrative of Robert Lepage's POSSIBLE WORLDS, a surreal murder mystery that delves into the many forms of love through the exploration of man's consciousness and marks the English-language film debut of celebrated Quebec auteur, Robert Lepage.

Police detectives Berkley (Sean McCann) and Williams (Rick Miller) arrive at a gruesome crime scene to find George Barber (Tom McCamus) murdered, his brain removed from the corpse. Thus begins their journey to solve the riddle of who killed him and what motivated the killer to steal his brain.

In the meantime we are introduced to George and accompany him through a variety of possible worlds in the search for his lover, Joyce (Tilda Swinton). As Joyce takes on a number of different guises, George explores how they may have once known each other. In one instance, she is a brilliant neurology professor who he recalls from their high school days. She, however, has no recollection of him, and spurns his advances. In another, she is the aggressor, trying to seduce him in a bar. In yet a further incarnation, they enjoy a romance at a beach house. In one world they are married, in another, perfect strangers. In reality they may have been neither, or perhaps both. The film examines everything that their relationship could have been, and everything that George imagines it to be.

All the while, Berkley and Williams are baffled by subsequent murders that seem curiously related to George's death. They are drawn to the world of Dr. Kleber (Gabriel Gascon), a world of science gone insanely awry and a shocking explanation as to why George's body was so horribly desecrated. Along the way, the viewer is moved to ponder questions that touch upon the expanses and limitations of parallel universes, parallel awareness, and the planes constraining our perceptions of our own existence. As a result, the film succeeds on all levels: as a philosophical exercise, a compelling love story, and a suspenseful mystery which goes beyond murder to the core of the human experience.

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