Last night watched ‘Waking Life‘ a strange film all about dreaming
We ordered it from amazon video (their subscription lending library), but not quite sure how we managed to do it. Certainly when it arrived and I read the description it sounded a little too arty … I of course like James Bond and Famous Five!
However, it was very enjoyable and has most stunning animation. It looked as if it had been filmed live, but then, either by hand or using computer, reduced to comic book effect. It chronicles a young man’s day or dream as he discusses (mainly listens) to various people talking about the philosophy of dreams and reality – I assume taken from lots of real philosophers, but I’m not well read enough to recognise many! All of this in a constantly shifting animation as if each object were half floating. Sort of Disney meets Derrida.
Two things struck me … well actually many more, loads of lovely quirky asides, but I forget most already 🙁
First is how lacking in grounding so many of the philosophical ideas are; sitting somewhere between mysticism and reason. I’ve recently been reading Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis and got a similar feel there â€“ lovely stuff for a novel, almost poetic … but without solid ground. An age that has forgotten or rejected God and lost faith in rationality, but struggling to find something in the void.
The other thing was a point when one of the characters said to the protagonist (I misquote!) “your sneakers aren’t real, your feet inside your sneakers aren’t real, you are a mental model” … the character is referring to the fact you are not real in a dream, but to some extent this is precisely the self we experience, my mental model of me is the ‘I’ I know, so (and this was said elsewhere in the film), to some extent aspects of dreams are as real as anything in waking life.