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The Institute

HD   NR Closed Captioning

Spencer McCall

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About the Movie

"To those dark horses with the spirit to look up and see. . . a recondite family awaits. " Welcome to the Jejune Institute, a mind-bending San Francisco phenomenon where 10,000 people became "inducted" without ever quite realizing what they'd signed up for. Was it a cult? Was it an elaborate game? Told from the participants’ perspectives, this film looks over the precipice at an emergent new art form where real world and fictional narratives collide, creating unforeseen and often unsettling consequences. Fusing elements of counter-culture, new religious movements and street art, this film invites viewers into a secret underground world teeming just beneath the surface of everyday life.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 17
  • Fresh: 12
  • Rotten: 5
  • Average Rating: 6.4/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: "The Institute" stumbles between documentary and exploratory simulation, at once confusing and pedantic. – Nicolas Rapold, New York Times, Oct 10, 2013

Fresh: Mystery is part of the appeal. – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter, Oct 21, 2013

Fresh: Rarely have I felt so absorbed by a movie about people I found so incredibly annoying. – Scott Foundas, Village Voice, Oct 7, 2013

Fresh: McCall does a skillful job of reconstructing this hipster-centric game, though much of the proceedings still come off as one of those "you had to be there" affairs. – David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle, Oct 4, 2013

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Secret Knowledge

It’s like a hot stone massage for your dreamtime. Somewhere to go for a while to be creatively inspired. Every time I watch it I’m reminded how magical the world can be when you bring your imagination into the street and dance with it. Your walk to work is a much more interesting journey when you are looking for clues, secret places and mythical stories that only you can understand. Then you turn around and discover the others there with you. Nonchalance. Vital orbit. Elsewhere. Disco Sasquatch. Curious? A small taste of what’s to come. Feed your head some dreams. Go and see for yourself. Bring a friend … Eva is my spirit animal.


No words can compound the loveliness of this picture. See it!

For Curious Minds

An incredibly intriguing piece of film making, The Institute is a real life version of "The Game", with dashes of "Exit through the Gift Shop" and "Resurrect Dead". I laughed out loud at several scenes, and alternately found passages to be mystical, wondrous, inspirational, or simply bizarre. Part of the growing genre of "mind-f_ck" movies, It bears repeat viewing to decipher (or scrutinize) its many embedded layers of meaning. Highly recommended.

The Institute
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  • $9.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 2013

Customer Ratings