Cockburn’s YOU ARE HERE is the most engaging type of so-called “avant garde” film – sure, it’s full of crazy ideas and bizarre set pieces, but at its core, under the layers of metaphysics and audience-required detective work, it remains a lot of fun.
The work is a thought experiment writ large, with strange and allegorical tales interwoven into a type of surreal mystery tale. We’ve got obsessive librarians and shut-in cipher decoders, taxi cab hijinks and moments of off-putting solemnity. Plus, occasional flashing images and crazy setups to keep it all unsettled.
At the end of YOU ARE HERE you remain, if anything, even more unsure of where you were to begin with. Still, for any film that dare to mix existential philosophy with this type of free flowing atmosphere gets serious credit for the effort. There’s nothing somber or dry about the work, nor is there a sense of insistent, belligerent nonsense that plagues even the great filmmakers Lynch and Herzog with some of there more strident works. Cockburn treads the wacky line well, and should be applauded for this unique headscratcher of a film.