More from the expired film archives shot last summer on a road trip to the East Cape.
The Cabezon Dinosaurs are another weird tourist attraction I never took the time to appreciate when I lived in LA. Perhaps because it's more of a trap—a truck stop off the interstate jammed into a fast food junction—than an actual attraction. But it is very American. One of our great monuments built into a commercial experience and made holy by Hollywood. Plus I even managed to get some old-fashioned light-leak happening there, no iPhone app required.
"...the idea is to always remain in a state of constant departure, while always arriving."
when i first saw this film back in 2001, i recall dismissing it entirely as an exercise in rotoscoping. in retrospect, my only defense is that i wasn't ready for it. i was too concerned with its superficial formal strategies, and so i could only scratch at its surface. thinking on it now, rotoscoping as strategy to get the viewer to distance themselves and allow the idea of the uncanny to begin to unfold, is really quite effective.
the notion that a small thing can be off- and that this alone can be a signifier for either waking or dreaming states, is really useful when considering the potential of lucid dreaming.
and at the risk of going off the new age deep end, i have begun to think about this film as an intersection of nearly all the ideas that preoccupy me as of late. and it's inherant to the nature of its subject matter that it has come back to me now, ten years after i first saw it, in a way that is wholy consumable. i think this gets to the idea of layers. and that perhaps life is in fact a series of holy moments that have to be received and understood as layers. eventually the layers may stack up to create a fully formed image. wake up already.
stills from waking life, 2001 directed by richard linklater
when i first read tomas alfredson was set to direct TTSP, i was already conjuring up images of a moody quiet thriller punctuated with bursts of controlled violence. if you haven't seen let the right one in then do so immediately. in my mind it is possibly the most perfect on screen realization of the modern vampire. in TTSP he employs the same sort of tight dark control over his subject matter. alfredson's monochromatic london has a similar feel to his suburban sweden, but it really works. there is a gritty dirty quality. an inner world created in a public space between those that share a secret and those who do not. the use of color really struck me as well. despite such an earthy somber palette, his characters both embody their surroundings and stand apart from them. encased within an overarching sense of moral ambiguity, you get the sense that as long as they exist in an office, these bureaucratic spies would be at home anywhere in the world. and of course- gary oldman is a total bad ass in glasses.
- from exploring the world of lucid dreaming
"dreams, they feel real while we're in them right?. it's only when we wake up do we realize something was actually strange." -dom cobb, inception
when i first saw inception a few years ago, like many people, i was quite taken in by it. i recall thinking at the time that the film felt like a bit of a visual effects game changer in the way the matrix was ten years prior. i still feel that way. both films presented visual effects that were unusual and innovative and wove these effects into a story line in such a way that the results were completely psychologically immersive. the so-called "wizardry" of both bullet time and bending cities have now become iconic. but their emotional resonance within the films endure. i felt this was more than computer graphics posturing. they were and and remain examples of what can be achieved when vfx are allowed to move beyond the literal and into the abstract dream state.
i started thinking about inception again because, like the matrix it draws on some well known philosophical concepts towards constructing a pop oriented interpretation. to this end, the film's use of lucid dreaming theory and research is pretty well known. having recently begun reading stephen laBerge's book on lucid dreaming however, i find the film's premise even more intriguing. certainly the film posits some far out concepts. but in principle, the idea that we can achieve greater self awareness and reprogram ourselves in a waking state through lucid dreaming [in other words, inception] is entirely plausible as it turns out. at the moment i am only in the first phase of the book which focuses on accurate dream recall. but stay tuned for future lucid dreaming updates...