Friday, May 16, 2008

A Wake-Up Call That Lasts Forever

Waking Life (2002) Directed by Richard Linklater

Man wakes up in a dream, and then into another, and then another, etc. One of the few movies, I have watched, then sat for 10 minutes, then watched immediately again.

The narrative is made up of conversations and lectures from real people(often actors playing actors and professors playing professors, etc), who were then animated over, in technology developed specifically for this film(now being seen advertisements).
The subject of these dream discussions include identity, free will, evolution, language, rebelliion, apathy, conversation, sex, film, God, death, dreams, memories, etc. Some vignettes are funny, some disturbing, some pretentious, some relaxed engaging, some didactic, some inquisitive, and others more like poems aborted mid-stream.
This is not a plot driven film, it's a series of vignettes not unlike an earlier Linklater film "Slacker"(if you liked this movie, Slacker is the 90's no-budget equivalent).
If you enjoy thinking for thinking's sake, putting ideas together and then taking them apart like building blocks, you will enjoy this movie. Few films have had quite the impact on me that this did the first time around, I showed it to just about everyone I knew, and while a few gave me the standard "What the fuck is this, shit's wierd", more than a few were left just as blown away as I was. Cynics will of course associate this film with a coffee shop, no attention span culture, jittering pretentious ideas bieng typed a mile a minute by spectacled hipsters, etc. However this is an unfortunate reduction of a film, that has generated more interesting ideas in it's first 15 minutes alone than most film's do after years of academic discussion.Watching this movie made me feel aware for the first time, that I was no longer living in the 20th century, that things were and could be different, and that new langauges and systems would have to be made to describe and implement new experiences and new ways of doing things, this movie was the beginning... perhaps I was getting a bit ahead of myself, but that's what I liked about this movie, it's own granduer, ridiculousness, and ambition are infectious and life affirming, where often films of this artistic caliber can be obstuse or de-humanizing. There are no characters to empathize here with, just ideas and beautiful visuals(from dozens of animators with varrying styles), so if your not to interested in the discussion you can always just tune out and watch the colors dance, it's as much a treat for the eyes as it is a delight for the brain, as well as ears, the "Tosca Tango Orchestra" perform the music, which keeps everythingh swirling at a nice pace. I could go on like this forever, it's a good movie see it, if not see something else.

No comments: