Archive for the ‘Film’ Category
Check out Rem Runner’s Julie Flygare’s writing on a new film:
Brilliant work on your new blog/website Julie. It looks great!
Julie Flygare/Rem Runner reports on musical – Sleeping Beauty Wakes
It will be on until the 5th of June at The McCarter Theatre Centre in Princeton NY, US.) so if you are nearby: go and see it! It looks very promising.
A year ago I came across The story of Ann Shapiro (mentioned in article below). When I feel like time is slipping away, I think of Ann who suffered a stroke in 1963 at the age of 50 and woke up again 30 years later to a new world. Perhaps it’s my worst fear to fall asleep/enter a vegetative state or as in the case of Miss Lily Smith (Awake for only 12 days this century – ‘miracle’ of coma woman | World news | The Guardian.) “minimally conscious” i.e. eyes open and body rigid. It’s probably most people’s greatest fear to become completely passive – freeze in time like the stone statues created by the White Witch in the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. At the same time I can’t help but to be fascinated by the experience of “falling asleep” for 30 years and then wake up to an entirely new world or literally be frozen in time – to become an observer of time – to be conscious but unable to move.
A report last year by Cambridge University researchers showed that patients who are apparently unconscious often have more brain function than previously suspected. The study showed that the brains of comatose patients responded to verbal stimuli in a similar manner to those of conscious volunteers. The team admitted it was “absolutely stunned” by the findings.
I find this information interesting because when I get a cataplexy attack, I get completely incapable of communicating but I can hear everything people say around me. Perhaps it’s the same for people who become “minimally conscious”?
Ann’s life story and her experience of disjointed time has been turned into a film called “Forever Love” and it starred Reba McEntire. It is a loosely based adaptation of the Annie Shapiro story. I haven’t seen the television movie, as it is referred to as, but the plot summary seems to have removed everything that I found interesting with the story and added another character so when Ann (who here is only in a coma for 20 years) wakes up she has adjust and find her place in a family set up of 4 family members. The strapline reads: She will discover betrayal before she discovers herself. What have they done? According to this article from The Jamaica Observer , Her biggest excitement in her last years was when the movie was made of her miraculous awakening. It starred singer Reba McEntire. ” That’s me,” laughed Anne Shapiro, the last time I spoke with her. “I can’t wait to see it.” I don’t know if she ever saw the film but somehow she managed to outlive her family and passed away in 2003, 90years old. She would have been a fascinating woman to meet. The person to have spent the longest time is a coma was Elaine Esposito: 37 years and 111 days. She never woke up. Ann was very lucky not only to wake up but also to be so coherent after being “away” for 30 years.
Two nights ago I started watching The Fountain. It’s been directed by Darren Aronofsky, same director as Requiem for a Dream and The black Swan, which is currently showing in cinemas. It stars Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz and is described as romantic drama set in a contemporary/historic/eternal setting filmed by merging fantasy and science-fiction styles. I really like films that play on plot, time lines and expectations of what and how a film should be told. We are so used to the hollywood style of dramatisation and how many of us really watch that many European films? The visuals are stunning and I wished that I had seen it on the big screen.
There is something about the film that feels wrong or is it because I fall asleep every time I try to watch it because the plot and tempo is so slow? It is very rare for films to be visually interesting and have a good storyline. It seems like it is always or mostly one or the other that suffers. It just becomes more apparent when the visuals outdo the story line because the craft of a director is to tell a story and carry forth a coherent narrative. The narrative is not complicated (3 times lines being told simultaneously) but it feel weak. Is there not enough historic detail to make it believable? Is it supposed to be a dream? is that the reason the film feels vague?
Or does Rachel Weisz’s moaning and dying just bore me to tears? That said it is a beautiful thought-provoking story – I just wish it wasn’t so pretentious because I normally love this type of story.
Orlando is one of my favourite films and it spans several hundred years too. It was awarded an Oscar for best costume drama and had spectacular scenery. Tilda Swinton’s performance was breathtaking, thought-provoking mixed in with a great sense of humour. Then again Orlando was based on a piece of fiction written by Virginia Wolf – The fountain was based on a film script therefore by its nature written to be seen and not experienced. They both address issues of mortality but where Orlando cleverly deals with issues head on and learn from them The Fountain is a long beautiful pain feast!
Stumbled across this film on one of the sleep forums. Science of sleep can be found on Amazon. I am not listing it because I have not seen it yet. Have you? What d you think? Do leave me some feedback on it. I had never heard about it before today.
Wikipedia says the film is a French-Italian comedy directed by Michel Gondry. Yes, the same Gondry that directed Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. The original title of the film is La Science des reves. I love the french language, it is so beautiful. I would like to go to France and brush up on my language skills from 12 years ago. Oh well, soon enough, there are so many things I would like to do first.
Science of sleep features Gael Garcia Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Alain Chabat. Charlotte Gainsbourg is the only actor that I recognises. She has been very successful of late in films such as: Melancholia, The Tree, Persecution, Antichrist and The City of Your Final Destination as well as obviously being the daughter of Jane Birkin and Serge.
As I have not seen it yet I have compiled a concentrated collection of the reviews online for you.
Rotten Tomatoes gives Science of Sleep 23 fresh tomatoes and 11 rotten, 68% percent of the audience (top critics) liked the film and gave it 6.5/10. Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote: Pouring every impulse, inspiration and outlandish image at hand into his project, [Gondry] creates a dream world as visually delightful as it is merrily illogical. And the Houston Chronicle said: In the end, after your time with it, you’ll recall it with a smile, remembering its childish wonderment and mischievous sense of humor. So far so good, it sounds like it would appeal to narcoleptic audience. well, as long as you watch the DVD, anyway because then you can rewind it again and again if you needed too.
Then Katarina Longworth writes this review for the Sundance festival of the film where she claims the director is image based and cannot pull of a traditional narrative strain. Charlie Kaufmann was the writer behind Gondry’s previous successes and Katarina adds that the film would’ve been better if he had written the script. I can’t help thinking that perhaps this was the point exactly that the science of sleep has a visual narrative that is illogical and maddening and there is no room for a coherent narrative. My point of view would in that case turn the film into an art house film. I still, think although, I agree with my previous point, that there needs to be a thread pulling it-holding the story together otherwise it would be pointless (I hear my art friends screaming at me: you don’t understand art!). Memento is a fine example of a film with a similar theme although the film genre is different. Katarina Longworth quote (funny and brilliant!!) Gondry tends to make movies for and about two kinds of people: sad-eyed boys with fantastic record collections, and the art school girls who want to make out with them. This one’s no exception, packed as it is with references to indie bands and Russian animators, and goofy retro electronic toys, and fabulous-looking young people wearing the world’s greatest homemade haircuts. The Science of Sleep is something like a Luis Bunuel film, but with politics replaced by fashion. It is, essentially, a hipster wet dream. I love this film already (ha! ha!)
IMDB give sthe film 3.5/5 stars. BBC Movies writes: ….. he (Gondry) grounds the flights of fancy in enough emotional reality to avoid seeming self-indulgent. But credit should be shared with the leads: frosty at first, Gainsbourg reveals warmth and sensitivity, while Bernal leavens his character’s edge of creepiness with cheeky charm. Together they’re silly, giddy, irrepressibly inventive – a lot like the film itself, in fact. The BBC gives the film 4/5 stars (highest yet!)
The most sympathetic review comes from Slant magazine (4/4 stars). They begin the review by comparing: The difference between Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep is the difference between a good pop song and a great punk record, a fluid Escher-like mindbender and a kaleidoscopic Jackson Pollack drip, and finishes by saying: For Gondry, the science of cinema is not unlike the science of sleep, where everything and anything is possible. Gondry, like David Lynch, makes art from the many-spindled arcs of our dreams and fantasies, but Lynch hasn’t gone so far as to suggest that our dreams are works of art themselves, our imagination a gallery of unfinished, haunted frescos. To submit to Science of Sleep becomes something strangely akin to acknowledging that our dreams make more sense than our waking life. Imagine that.
Sounds like the perfect film for Queen of Sleep!
SEVEN STORIES. ONE HOTEL SUITE. PLENTY OF BAGGAGE. – Drama/Comedy/Anthology
The webisodes started showing on the 17th of December already so if you haven’t heard about collaboration between mylife.com and the sleep council you will have a few episodes to catch up with. The purpose of Suite 7 is an anthology web series sponsored by The Better Sleep Council created to help consumers understand the important role proper sleep plays in overall health and well-being. There is also a Facebook group to join if you are a fan or if you want to keep up with new episodes and news. You will find the official website here and on Lifetime here. YouTube shows here and you can sign up to the Twitter feed here.
Dream Story written by Arthur Schnitzler is a short piece of psychological erotic drama, written in a dream -like narrative, depicting a married couple’s trauma and subsequent understanding by confessing to each other their sexual fantasies, dream-like adventures and might-have-beens…
The novella was the basis for the late Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” featuring Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise. I saw the film before I read the novella and with hindsight I recommend seeing the book and the film as two separate pieces of work. In spite of preferring the book, there are scenes in the film that are absolutely brilliant thanks to Nicole Kidman’s amazing acting talent. I found the film more of a visual feast unfortunately unable to communicate the core message(s) of the novella. The book communicates an absorbing psychological drama loaded with meaning and issues of morality. It was easy to read Dream Story and I only fell asleep on a few occasions. The title or the length of the novella were not the only reasons why I chose to read Dream Story. It depicts a moment of time in Europe, when Austria was still living on the dreams of the Ottoman Empire and had suffered several humiliating defeats. The facade of a civilised society is still upheld but underneath the surface lurks decadence. In many ways, it feels similar to the times we are living in at the moment. Still, there is hope that after all the financial crisis and increased poverty, a shift will occur, a change for the better, towards a more generous and open society based on human values and truth rather than on speculation and deception in return for material gains. Returning to the novella, there is no doubt in my mind that the author was a selfish pervert who loved to exploit women both physically and psychologically and that he loved to create dramas. Dramas that often had dire consequences on his career as a physician. He often had affairs with several women at once, perhaps he was afraid of the thing he sought after the most: real intimacy with a woman. Perhaps the longing could only be voiced through analysing and dissecting the relationship between woman and man, and then finally take form on the page?
Dream story could also be an analogy for an internal poetic dream journey, externalized, where the main protagonist travels to hidden corners of the mind containing unexplored feelings of desire, jealousy, sexuality, danger, revenge, death and fear. Arthur Schnitzler was a member of the same group of psychotherapist as Freud who met on a weekly basis to discuss ideas. Apparently, Freud confessed in a letter to Schnitzler” I have gained the impression that you have learned through intuition – though actually as a result of sensitive introspection-everything that I have had to unearth by laborious work on other persons”. Somehow, I find it hard to believe that he learned through intuition when it is clear that he was an extremely active field worker.