August 31st, 2010
|04:52 pm - Into air, into thin air|
Martin has a post at Everything Is Nice about The Cell in particular, and films-about-dreams in general.
The best films are like dreams, because I forget myself, and also lose track of time and space. That isn't quite the same as a film being a good representation of what it is to dream. Most films about dreams seem to misrepresent the experience of dreaming. Inception is the least realistic (bizarrely I think 'realistic' is the right word) cinema representation of what dreaming is like. The Cell is a bit more like a 'real dream'. Visually getting there, narratively not so much.
Martin mentions the Japanese film Paprika, which I haven't seen. Abigail in a post on Inception mentions Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is great but isn't much like dreaming (to me). I like the dream sequences in American Werewolf in London, and I think Spirited Away is probably the film most like my own dreaming experience.
I was describing to my son how I thought Inception should have been, and he said 'You are describing Inland Empire' - by David Lynch, I must see it.
Eraserhead, that's a film that's a lot like a dream. And now I'm thinking of Pan's Labyrinth, because I passed out in both those films - I mean I fainted in the cinema. Perhaps a bit too much like my own subconscious.
And of course the big question which remains is how much all our dream lives differ? Do some people have dreams that are a lot like Inception? Like Avatar? Perhaps that's why some people love them and others are left uncomprehending.
I would be interested in which films are most like your own dreams, and which representations of dreaming in film seem best or most accurate to you. Do our dreams differ so greatly? If so it seems to make all communication impossible.
There was a 1988 film called Hidden City with Charles Dance - which wasn't nearly as good as its premise, about invisible parts of London - but did have a [very short] dream sequence which has always stuck in my mind as one of the most convincing ones I've seen on-screen.
Oh, and maybe a few of Tony Soprano's? Though I'm not quite sure whether they were as convincing as they were memorable.
I don't usually like Poliakoff, but the summary of this makes it sound a bit like House of Leaves, which is a very dream-like book. 'decades worth of classified information piles in drifts in decomissioned underground air raid shelters' - a convincing image of the subconscious.
It would probably have been a better film if it had been more like that. Poliakoff can be good - I particularly like his set-piece stories which have no obvious connection to the main plot in Shooting the Past and Perfect Strangers* - but he seems to have developed a strange obsession with the display of wealth in his latest plays. Have you seen any of his older stuff, like Stronger than the Sun, and that stage play about his family living in a train after the revolution - Breaking the Silence?
*Lindsay Duncan icon as she was in both.
Yes, his wealth obsession is very peculiar. He seems to think it's universal but it alienates me. It's like the middle aged novelists who write about girl students imagining we will all be as interested as they are.
I haven't seen The Experiment. Did you see the German original? It's supposed to be better, but then people always say that about remade films.
I've been thinking I was wrong above; there are two types of dreams, ones which are more like 'The Office' with silly people sitting around being inconsequential in almost monochrome, and ones which have a massive vista and bright colours. I was really talking about the second type, but probably I have more of the first.
Obviously the subject of Downfall is upsetting, and the acting and direction is intense, but I wouldn't let that put you off. It's not a film I would avoid (like Antichrist say)