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'K-PAX' Mirrors 'Man'

November 03, 2001

Maybe I was abducted by space aliens and had a false memory implanted in my brain (or maybe a few film critics in town were abducted and had their memory banks wiped clean), but why do the plot line and characters of "K-PAX" sound so oddly familiar? A psychiatrist with family problems who finds himself dealing with a mental patient who may or may not be an alien? Is this a whiff of deja vu or maybe a parallel universe?

I'm not sure which book this film claims to be based on, but the obvious cinematic progenitor is the very fine Argentine film "Man Facing Southeast," circa 1986, which is about ... a psychiatrist with family problems who finds himself dealing with a mental patient who may or may not be an alien.

This is not to cast aspersions on what I'm sure is another very fine Hollywood product (which I haven't had a chance to see yet), but it does surprise me that Kenneth Turan would have not made the obvious connections between these two films in his review ("Stars Keep K-PAX Aloft," Oct. 26). Pauline Kael would be rolling over in her grave!

JAN MUNROE

Los Angeles

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