Part Twilight Zone, part X-Files, part Usual Suspects, part Mojave Phone Booth, part Banksy, part Donnie Darko, part M. Night Shyamalan, Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles is an excellent documentary. But don't start playing the theremin just yet -- this a beautiful, intelligent film that is surprisingly heartwarming as well. I'll let the trailer explain:
Philadelphia artist Justin Duerr first noticed the tiles in 1994, yet it wasn't until 1996 that he began to see the tiles all over the city. Further digging revealed that the tiles could also be found in Boston and New York City. As the internet blossomed, Justin found articles about the tiles and learned that they could be found not just in several other US cities, but in a handful of capital cities in South America. The internet also brought into Justin's path photographer Steve Weinik and writer/musician Colin Smith, who both had a deep interest in the Toynbee tiles already. The trio set out to find the meaning behind the tiles, and most importantly, who was behind them.
Initial research gave them four incredibly tempting clues as to who "The Tiler" could be. Was it:
* Sevy Verna, an intelligent, eccentric shut-in whose address matched one included in a tile found in Chile?
* James Morasco, who spoke with a reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1983 about resurrecting the dead on the planet Jupiter?
* Julius Piroli, aka "Railroad Joe," a Conrail employee whose route took him to all the locations in the US where the tiles had been found, and whose company handled shipments of a certain material to Chile?
* David Mamet, world-renown playwright, who wrote the one-act play "4 A.M." which contains many of the same details in the tiles' message?
Justin, Steve and Colin's investigative efforts take them through Philly neighborhoods, a short wave radio convention, the wilds of the original toynbee.net email backlogs, and much more. You really won't believe how it all plays out.
Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles is a film that goes far beyond its original idea and intention. It reawakens the joy of the possibilities all around us -- the mysteries in our lives that are waiting to be solved so that we may learn something all the more fascinating about ourselves. It toys with curiosity, conspiracy, imagination and doubt, and in the end further cements how truly connected we all are. If you've ever wanted to see a living example of how the law of attraction works, this would be a good place to start, because it's pretty uncanny.
Director Jon Foy also wrote the film's dreamy, intriguing score. He won the Directing Award at the 2011 Sundance festival, and is currently working on his first narrative feature. Don't miss this QA from the 2011 Stranger Than Fiction Fest where he and the Toynbee trio discuss the making of the film.