Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Waking Life

I don’t assume many of you have seen this one but hear goes.

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A lucid dream is defined as “a dream state in which one is conscious enough to recognize that one is in the dream state.” Generally, it means that one not only realizes they are dreaming, but can will the dream to take any action they please. For example, in a lucid dream, one can fly, have sex with whomever they choose, or have whatever Jedi powers they’d like.

What a crock of shit.

This particular movie, Waking Life, deals with the subject of lucid dreaming but, as you can’t take “Kicking and Screaming” seriously, you ought not to take this movie’s view on “Lucidity” too seriously.

Directed by Richard Linklater, who also did School of Rock and Dazed and Confused, it’s hard to believe that this director is capable of dealing with such serious and thought-provoking subject matter as “Dream is Destiny” or “Death and Reality”. Although he may not have the skills, he certainly tries to take it on in this film.

The movie is quite well done, to be honest. It’s filmed and then animated over, giving it a certainly unique look and making it a rather interesting experience to watch. Basically a collection of different interviews with different people discussing philosophy and psychology, the movie’s animation gets looser and tighter (I know what you’re thinking), based on the extremity or believability of the various interviewees. Often it’s difficult to make out where the face is on a particular character, where it’s occasionally possible to name the exact actor in other scenes.

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If this movie is a tribute to the great life philosophers and philosophies of the past however many years, then it’s a great movie. If this movie is a collection of various philosophies that Richard Linklater claims as his own ideas, then this movie is a piece of shit. I view this film as a limited encyclopedia. It’s the views of Plato, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Aristotle, and DH Lawrence to name a few, crammed together in an hour and a bit of rotoscoped originality.

It could likely be considered pseudo-intellectual (Eg. Elephant) but it’s not half bad, if you don’t take it for face value.

"The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving."

Ps. The one month mark is coming up, I’m taking requests for the June 27th posting. What would you like reviewed?

29 comments:

Singul Mather said...

Competition is a discriminant.

This film may have the creativity and originality to get a few nomitations , and possibly even awards. But something was missing. That something is either charecter development , a plot , or a climax and it's build up. I liked it though , enough to watch it two times. Well one and a half or so. The first time I fell asleep halfway , and thinking that it might be like soup , having sat in a pot for two days , bathing in it's flavor. The second time I saw the whole thing and it was just shy of captivating.

The last film I saw was Constantine , starring Keanu as the chosen one for a change. Now I'm thinking in order to give A Waking Life a fair go , it can't be compared with a film like constantine. But the thing is , I liked Constantine more , even though it's a typical dark film adventure , the fact there was a protagonist , conflict and a meager theme , for me that did the trick.

So going back to the source , films like AWL are worth watching. If you're into the art of the cinema , but they are not for everyone , because they lack conventional storytelling devices. For those who can bear that and sit through documentary/cornocopia of ideas and philosophies , power to you. This film will make you squeal like a pig when an apple finally falls from it's branch.

I wonder how many Tolkien and Lucas fans would agree though , because storytelling is defenitley an artform in it's own right.

A Sheltered Town said...

There you go. Like I said, the movie is an encyclopedia to me. A collection of ideas without a story line. It's just information.

Daddy said...

I saw this film shortly after it was released on DVD. It is a miserable failure of a cinematic experiment. Was it worth attempting? Perhaps. Countless films have taken stabs at complex and philosphical and existential matters, all the while maintaining a structure that keeps the audience interested. Not this time I'm afraid.

Dickolas Wang said...

Three words:

Captain. And. Tenille.

Graham said...

Insightful philosophical discourse in service of compelling drama? Three words: Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Dave Harty said...

Lucid dreaming is not a crock of shit, Shelby! I did it again the other night. I like this movie on two levels, the animation because more than a few of the artists had no prior animation experience, and the philosophy, because even if I don't fully understand what they're talking about, it makes me think. I get enough story and plot etc. from every other movie, I could use the break. Also, I love the characters.
"I like to mix them all together."

Anonymous said...

Bored of Debord already? Time for a spectacular review of Basquiat. What say we?
No one wants to miss the Van Gogh boat.
Pay For Soup
Build A Fort
Set That On Fire.
(c)
Bird Lives
Pig Dies?

Garbage Man said...

I didn't get the animation. It was just some shitty ploy to look artistic.

It was like "Hey everybody! Look at me, look what I can do. Don't you think I'm original?"

Bored the shit out of me.

Dave Harty said...

You dick, watch the commentary, it was done by a whole group of local artists. Not to mention the work that went into translating the video into animation.

Garbage Man said...

"watch the commentary"?!

You must be the smart one here...

Adam said...

I think the film was, as you said, a collection of interesting concepts and philosophies. I enjoyed how Linklater allows us to feel bombarded with them--as we often are when trying to tackle philosophical theories--just as his character is during the time he has in his final dream. All the characters in the film are eccentric, and I liked that they even became absurd at times.

In all, I'm not sure one is capable of gleaning a clear message from the movie. I think its goal was to remind us of our intellectual struggle to imbue our lives with some kind of meaning, but that, in the end, we all have to let go of the endeavor to secure dominion over the mystery from which we were born.

It's a little trite, but the film doesn't devalue the philosophical exercise. It just tries to frame it within our daily lives and dreams. It was a fun and personal movie from Linklater, though I'd not call it a masterpiece or particularly worthy of awards.

Singul Mather said...

Yo Roc! Your wife your is calling you for dinner , drag your sorry ass into that parlour. And to answer your question , the smart one in here is most folk other than you Beatch! Oh Tom Cruise called , he said he felt sad after sucking Matt Damon's balls , and that he was thinking about taking his new wife to the hills making her smile one last time and killing them both. I tried to talk him out of it , but it sounds like there will be some intresting trash to report back to us on , in a matter of days!!! Go get em' star sucker mother fucker. And feed us with the intresting blood you've sucked. Ha ha.

A Sheltered Town said...

Guys, let's calm the fuck down and keep it related to the topic at hand. Go kick his ass in your lucid dream.

Singul Mather said...

Sorry , just dragging it to the curb and stomping it. Too much rap music tonight. Whateva.

A Sheltered Town said...

That reminds me of the curb-stompin' scene in American History X. Good movie.

Anonymous said...

I dare ask someone in here to review "What the Bleep..." Not that any of you would get it, but it's worth a try.

PS - Basquiat is an excellent film and so is Man Bites Dog. Speaking of French films, what did you think of Blue, White, and Red?

Anonymous said...

"What the bleep..." was horrendous primer material, reductivist to the point of boredom, I can't take all the New Age relativism. As for the acting, is there even a point in commenting? Marlee should have kept her mouth shut. Kieslowski was a beast, my friend. The Decalogue was better, though -- if you have the stamina to sit through it all. Glad to see someone likes good movies here.

Anonymous said...

ok you losers i'm only gonna go through this once, and point by point at that.

a) Tom Cruise probably was sucking on Matt Damon's balls because I got word last night through a very reliable source that he is very gay and all his marriages were intended (and financially arranged) to cover the fact.
b) David Bowie was a great Andy Warhol, but apart from that Basquiat was ho-hum...unless you're that kid that keeps taggin "Samo" all over Vancouver, in which case the movie was the greatest inspiration in your life (and something tells me that 'that kid' is probably on here or will be someday).
c) What the Bleep....? all i have to say about that is lay the fuck off Marlee cause the bitch is deaf already, and she's actually a really nice person.
and d) as for foreign films, well anything by Truffault is pretty much brilliant (Day for Night is good starter material). but why not widen your horizons and look into Fellini, Gavras, or even something by Mizoguchi or Kurosawa (Shelby loves everything Japanese guys...here's your big chance). then you losers might wax philosophically about good films and actually have something interesting to say...for a change.

thats all.. toodles.

ps have any of you homs riding basquiat's figurative cack actually gone to the various galleries in town over the years and actually seen his artwork in person? much better than the film. ta

Anonymous said...

It's Truffaut tough-guy.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and may I add that if you want to get up to date on Japanese films you might try Miike and Imamura. Love, Homebwoy.

Anonymous said...

my friend there's no comparisson between miike and kurosawa, or even mizoguchi for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Of course there's no comparison. (read: comparison) but let's celebrate the living auteurs. I'm just jehsting with you anyways Rudie, Love. Japanese content? Check out Mishima.

Anonymous said...

Jehst -- UK hip-hop's finest.

Anonymous said...

mishima? my friend was the director of photography...lots of stories, but this is not the place. cheers. thanks for the spelling assistance

Demosthenes said...

I'm home...

A Sheltered Town said...

He was being sarcastic. I hate Japanese movies so shut your traps, please and thank you.

Dave Harty said...

I'm having a lucid dream starring Shelby and Tetsuo from Akira...

And she's kicking his ass.

Elohimus Maximus said...

Oh my word, so much sinning going on in here...its like a sin fest! or an infest!!!!!! in case any of you heathen punks are wondering how I got such an incredible sense of humor, its because I have the Lord on my side...repent and be saved!
The Church of Jesus Christ of Even More Latter Day Saints...PS hey sheltered, you should get a ticker or site counter because you must get alot of traffic! Keep fighting the good fight girl!
hahaha....im so righteous!

Anonymous said...

Waking Life deals with an idea of hell that the last moments of brain activity are perceived in dream consciousness as infitite. In Richard's case he's doomed to replay forever each chapter of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Western Philosophy. Outa the mouths of characters he would like to kill before they've uttered a line. But because he wrote them in the first place, he can't murder any of them, but has to hear out each and every one, infinitely. So, it's kind of genius that way.

Pawly