Sing into my mouth.

In the course of my travels through the landscape of the internet the other day I came across this:

The only lovers left alive.

At first I was actually stunned by how pretty and serene the moving image was. I thought to myself, “That is really quite pretty,” which is somewhat uncharacteristic of me.

Later, I looked at it again and it terrified me somewhat. It look on an ethereal quality, something more haunting. It was no longer just two people, frozen in a moment of happy contentment. Suddenly it looked almost… ghostly, you know? It got me thinking about the web of time, the way memories are sliced separate from reality. Some moments are really quite lovely, if only they could be frozen in place,  allowed to continue on forever, unaware of the progress or decline that comes as the world continues spinning past them. How wonderful it would be if you could preserve them like this, but wouldn’t that deprive them of their meaning, leaving them stripped of their context and ultimately hollow?

Oh well. Just thinking. Every love story eventually becomes a ghost story, and every happy home eventually becomes a haunted house.

Yesterday.

There is a clear difference between a fact and a factoid. Sometimes that difference becomes clearest in a live fact check and binders full of women. Good health is merely the slowest possible onset of death. Nostalgia clearly isn’t as good now as it used to be. The word “vodka” comes from the Slavic word for “water,” which makes a kind of sense. Whatever happened to Nancy Drew?

There is a correlation between losing sleep and losing memories. It’s humorous for me to think that Ronald Reagan once said, “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” An owl is an owl is an owl. “High and tight,” “shuck and jive,” “bread and circuses,” and “smoke and mirrors” are all examples of Siamese Twins.

I would like to stand on a beach at night, yelling obscenities into the coming tides. Pictures from here, here, here, here, and here. Is it possible that we’ll find thriving distant life in Alpha Centauri or the ancient remnants of extinguished life on Mars?

Is/was yesterday real, or did we just dream it up?

Brad Bird and Damond Lindelof are doing a movie together, maybe featuring aliens, but shhhh, it’s all a secret. Johnny Depp wants to publish a book about Bob Dylan, which seems totally unnecessary. If young J. G. Ballard looked like Christian Bale, does that mean that Christian Bale will eventually look like old J. G. Ballard? The Wire as a list with no name. Sometimes I feel like I am losing touch with the things really matter, or should really matter. Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell sequel won the 2012 Man Booker Prize. Oscar Wilde’s last words were, “Either that wallpaper goes – or I do!” There as no September 3 through September 13 in 1752. Dark Matter and Trojan Horses. Doppelgänger is still a really cool word. Everything is fine and…

That said, bananas are berries but strawberries are not.

The summer so far.

Mad linkage:

This is going to be awkward.

Jon Hamm will direct Mad Men‘s season 5 premiere (in 2012).

Terrorist “pre-crime” detector field tested.

The wisdom of crowds is a dangerous, stupid thing.

Of course Annie Hardy has a tumblr.

Important news: Ciara likes being naked.

Michael Jackson’s daughter is going to be a star some day.

Idris Elba is so hot right now.

Pictures from here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Food prices will double by 2030.

Here’s that Jonathan Franzen link that every other fucker has posted somewhere on your facebook, tumblr, twitter, or whatever.

Copanhagen suborbitals upcoming launch attempt in June.

Kevin Fanning on the daily commute.

Read more about that terrible sounding Wonder Woman pilot.

To the blogger who thinks saying “fuck” means I’m dumb.

An excerpt from Mindy Kaling’s new book.

The Hangover Part II has to be the laziest fucking movie ever.

The gospel according to Bill Clinton.

In September, DC Comics will relaunch all their superhero titles with new #1s, other changes.

Here’s a wild new drug that you should surely know about: Oxi.

Michael Kupperman doing Mark Twain’s Autobiography.

Is Donald Sutherland the last person to join the cast of The Hunger Games or could there possibly be more?

Hip-hop loved Gil Scott-Heron.

A drug that could erase your memories of being afraid.

PBS website hacked with a story about Tupac still being alive.

You were an island and I passed you by.

Okay, for today, let’s start at something we know and go somewhere we don’t and end up… who knows?

1. This man:

Sawyer from Lost. Remember him?

2. This is a picture of Sawyer reading a book:

That’s in “Eggtown.” How odd was it that Sawyer was the most prolific reader on the show? And Ben came in second place. We saw lots of glimpses of Ben’s and Jack’s bookshelves but Sawyer was the one we always saw actually reading (and Ben just occasionally). I wonder if Sawyer and Juliet (re)started a book club somewhere in their three years in the 1970s DHARMA Initiative… Hmm.

2 1/2. I’m all about Sawyer and Juliet reading Erica Jong‘s Fear Of Flying, I gotta say.

Go ahead, say it with me now: “Zipless fuck.” That felt good, didn’t it?

2 3/4. Like I said…

Ben actually read sometimes. In his mind, it goes like this: James Joyce > Stephen King. And I’d have to agree with him.

Sorry, Juliet.

3. Anyway, that book that Sawyer happens to be reading there is this:

The Invention Of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, written in 1940. It’s about a fugitive who ends up on a mysterious island where strange things are happening…

4. That particular cover above is based on the fact that the lead female role of the book, a character called Faustine, is based on silent film star Louise Brooks, whom is on the cover. This is another picture of her:

It’s also been said that the book was written, in part, as a reaction to the decline of her career at the time.

5. The plot, rather roughly, is: a man hiding from the authorities ends up on a mysterious island. Eventually a group of people come and the fugitive falls in love with one of the women with them. He keeps a diary, in which he talks about observing these people and their actions all the while trying to not be discovered by them, and how they seem to repeat some of the same conversations over and over, and then disappear. The fugitive tries to confront the woman, Faustine, and tell her how he feels about her but, as Wikipedia puts it, “an anomalous phenomenon keeps them apart.”

6. This is the original first edition cover of the book:

And another:

…which were designed by Norah Borges, the sister of Jorge Luis Borges, one of the author’s closest friends and a serious advocate of this novel. Borges even wrote a prologue for the book in which he said: “To classify it [the novel] as perfect is neither an imprecision nor a hyperbole.”

7. Supposedly the novel was inspired in part by earlier novels, such as 1934′s XYZ, by Clemente Palma, which I don’t know much about, but also the much more popular novel, The Island Of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells.

8. This is an image from the 1996 film version of the movie:

9. And below is a joke that was inspired by that little detail:

Yeah, that’s right.

10. I only saw that 1996 version of The Island Of Dr. Moreau once, which was directed by John Frakenheimer, and it was incredibly long ago, probably not long after it came out, but I love hearing accounts of the considerably rocky production, which suffered all kinds of shake ups, script rewrites almost daily, the original director being fired just three days into shooting on location in the tropical wilderness of North Queesland, Australia and, of course, the perfect storm that is Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando.

Anyway, so just a day or two after they got to their tropical location shoot, Kilmer decided that he wanted his role (as the lead character who happens upon the unethical villainy of the mad Dr. Moreau) cut by 40%. Some of this was because, yes, Val Kilmer is insane, but it was also right around the time he was going through a painful divorce. And after quite a bit of examination, it was discovered that there was no way to cut down the role Kilmer had been hired for, so he’d have to trade roles with David Thewlis, who had been cast as one of Moreau’s creepy flunkies.

11. Only slightly related: “I’m Val Kilmer. Take me to the strip club!”

12. Val Kilmer, even at your greatest heights, you’re still no Charlie Sheen. That’s a fact to both be ashamed of and to take pride in.

13. Speaking of weird actor bullshit on the set of a movie, if you ever get a chance, and are bored enough, you should go read up on the crazy demands that Marlon Brando came up with on the set of 2001′s The Score starring Rober De Niro, Edward Norton, and Angela Bassett. It’s some great stuff like not wanting to wear pants (so therefore a majority of his scenes are shot from the waist up) or refusing to take direction from director Frank Oz, whom he would only refer to as “Miss Piggy,” which lead to Oz having to sit in a van outside the set with a monitor and relaying direction via walkie talkie to De Niro to give to Brando.

Honestly, it’s enough to make you want to get really huge (mostly in a fame and talent sort of way, but possibly also in physical size) and just go really splendidly crazy, you know?

14. Getting somewhat back to our original topic… The Invention Of Morel. Interestingly enough, it was adapted into film in 1974 and starred the lovely Anna Karina, famous from so many Jean-Luc Godard films, and who was also in the film adaptation of The Magus. But that shouldn’t be held against her, should it?

15. But more interesting than that is the theory that the novel was a serious influence on the classic and notorious Alain Resnais film Last Year At Marienbad.

Many a person hate the film, which has inspired so much satire and so very many attempts at deciphering it, at finding meaning in it’s voluptuous qualities, but that’s an almost impossible task to do definitively.

16. If you’ve never seen it, shame on you. But if that’s true, I’ll try to sum the film up succinctly as best I can:

At a European château, a man approaches a woman. He claims to know her, but she doesn’t seem to know him. He tells her that they had met last year at Marienbad and that she had told him that she’d be waiting here for him now. He’s positive of this but again, she doesn’t remember. Her husband shows up. There’s a question of dominance at play, a power struggle, and the continuing effort to try and convince the woman of what the first man says is the truth. The characters have no names, but in the screenplay, the first man is X, the woman is A, and her husband’s name is M. Conversations happen again and again throughout the château, and reality seems to be a changing whim and there are many a haunting, cryptic voiceover hanging over lush, ambiguous tracking shots.

This is a very necessary film if you have any plans of calling yourself a pretentious film buff or a lover of the French New Wave.

17. The film is a thrill for guessing at, for surrendering yourself over to it’s masterful pace and tone, and then for pondering over with enlightened friends after a viewing.

18. Trust me, the film becomes a lot more fun and the guess work far more potent if you take on the assumption that it’s a science fiction story. Or a ghost story. Wander through that same mesmerizing landscape as the characters in the story and you’ll have a fun time.

19. Of course this all kind of ties into Lost, with certain echos of similar scenarios throughout the show and it’s mysterious island setting.

One example of that would be: Horace appearing to John and talking about Jacob’s cabin while chopping wood in a continuous loop. Of course, this was in a dream, but it’s an interesting visual representation of stone tape theory.

Remember back in the early, glory days of Lost theories, there was always stuff like “The Monster is nanotechnology,” which took a long time to fade after repeated denials from the producers, but that I always liked was holograms. Like “Jack’s dad is a hologram” or “Eko’s brother is a hologram,” meaning that they weren’t ghosts in the classic supernatural sense.

20. Last Year At Marienbad inspired the video for “To The End,” a 1994 single by Blur from their album Parklife

Jesus, remember Blur? Fuck, I miss Britpop. Damon Albarn has held on pretty strongly musical, both with Gorillaz and more recently complaining somewhat unnecessarily about Glee. Anyway, in the lovely video, that’s Albarn as “X” and Graham Coxon as “M.”

21. Albarn vs. Coxon? That’s fitting.

22. A year after “To The End” Blur would use another film as fuel for pastiche in a music video with “The Universal” from The Great Escape. Viddy well:

The film this time being Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, interesting enough. And the single’s cover was reminiscent of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

23. It should be pointed out that these both songs that I like quite a bit, as well as their videos. It was a smart move on Blur’s part, I think in doing these pastiches, not only because it makes them appear more stylistically interesting and intellectual (or as intellectually far as an homage can take one these days), but it really reinforced the strong roots that the 1960s held within the foundations of Britpop.

24. Going back to Last Year At Marienbad, another video:

This short film, called “The Arranged Time,” by a filmmaker named Scott Johnston, clearly owes a debt to the mysterious dream logic of Resnais’ classic, but is also it’s own intriguing thing. It’s well worth the viewing, but if you don’t want to favor the tip of the hat to Last Year At Marienbad, I can always offer you the hipster version of a reference: It’s remarkably David Lynch-ian.

25. I should probably loop this thing back around somewhat, back to where we started…

…but to a slightly different starting point…

…with that guy.

from here.

26. Here’s a nice fun fact for you: Matthew Fox has never seen a single episode of Lost.

Apparently he’s just really uncomfortable with watching himself “act.”

I can just imagine him watching the show and thinking, “Oh man, this Jack guy is just too fucking intense.”

27. This is a great picture I found today…

28. I like Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, but I also really liked Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne.

28A. It’s kind of like how I’d rather watch a Tony Stark movie than an Iron Man movie.

29. Staying mostly on target here… Don’t forget: They originally wanted Michael Keaton to be Jack on Lost. Granted, had that happened, they would’ve killed him off in the pilot (to shock you!) and Kate would’ve become the lead of the show, but had they kept him, I feel confident that he would’ve mustered up a decent quota of Jackface on a regular basis.

The problem with casting a seasoned film actor like Michael Keaton in the role of Jack would’ve been that he just wouldn’t have taken the chances that a seasoned and angry television actor like Matthew Fox (who always seemed to have something of a chip on his shoulder, a kind of unresolved anger residing within him after Party Of Five) would have and did end up taking. It’s shocking to think and say this in a way, but I just don’t think that Michael Keaton would’ve matched Matthew Fox’s intensity.

30. I made mention the other day, somewhat jokingly, that I kind of assumed that The Venture Bros. would end with the titular characters’ father, Rusty, putting himself out of his own misery (which is a much larger conversation, of course), but in thinking about that in the days since I typed those words, I couldn’t think of a moment in Lost where we saw Jack actually reading a book. Which makes sense for a lost of reasons, one being that Jack always had shit to do, was always on the move. He wasn’t a lounger like Sawyer or Ben or Locke. But, speaking of Locke, that was the only instance I could think of where Jack had a seat and read something rather significant…

…that item being Locke’s suicide note. That’s heavy, right?

31. This picture is funny:

32. It’s a nice thought, thinking back to the humble, mysterious beginnings of Lost

I’d love to someday see a book from Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse talking about all the various things they had wanted to do on the show that didn’t work out. On one hand, obviously, it wouldn’t matter. The show is the final product and that’s all that really matters, but even still, from the perspective of creating and writing and running a big show, one as ambitious as the one they produced, I’d be dying to know tricks they had up their sleeves that didn’t work out (Nikki and Paulo), how things would’ve gone if certain tricks hadn’t worked out so well (the character that became Benjamin Linus was only supposed to be around for three episodes and wasn’t intended to be the leader of the Others but Michael Emerson was just too good), and how they got to where they did.

Just imagine all those creative ghosts that are alive and wandering around the Island of Ideas.

33. All of that said, right now I’d figure this would be the last time that we really talk about Lost on this blog, but I can’t commit to that notion, not fully. To me personally, the show was such a broad, interesting thing that I feel like something can always come along that has relevance with the show. Especially, if you’ve noticed so far, since I have a particular interest in the way things align and connect with each other.

Who knows, maybe we’ll never talk about Lost again here. Or maybe we’ll be talking about it again tomorrow. Memories and locations intertwine differently for all of us and we can only bring our own unique meaning to them. The past has an amazing power over us, a constant hold, but it’s different for everyone. I would love to have a new show come along that inspires and interests us and ignites our imagination just like Lost did, but right now I’m not holding my breath. Maybe we’ll never leave the place we made together.

Your mind is the scene of the crime.

Your eyes may be open but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re awake.

All that glitters isn’t necessarily gold, not all travelers are lost, and that stuff underneath your feet isn’t necessarily Earth. When the sky’s the limit (and possibly not even then), when you can do and create anything, you’re still grounded by your own rules. Your own sense of understanding of ideas and concepts. Theft and violation are painfully easy, but inspiration is hard. Just because you feel it doesn’t mean it’s there. Things can only appear strange to you sometimes when you’re told that perhaps that’s what you should be looking for. Sometimes it’s hard to fall, or to feel like you’re falling, when there is no gravity.

This is my simple, rudimentary thoughts on Christopher Nolan’s Inception in three and a half points.

1. Every time I go to see a good movie in a movie theater, one that both excites and intrigues and involves me in some regard, be it superficial or something deeper, more substantial, it’s like a dream, isn’t it? We love the idea of dreams because they’re the perfect metaphor for… anything. Anything you desire.

And more so, we love our stories, and we love comparing movies to dreams.

Film logic just has to captivate you for the time that you’re watching it, to keep you floating in a suspension of (dis)belief, and then the movie ends, the credits roll, and you crawl out of the cave of the cinema. If you’re going to see the matinee, then the sun outside is harsh, and cruel. Your senses are heightened to extraordinary degrees. Every step feels more epic, the angle of objects seems more profound. You just experienced something amazing and you’re taking a little bit of it with you, and by contrast, you feel like you’re leaving a little of yourself behind, but you move on from it because you feel touched, activated, feeling pretty amazing yourself. You move with your own soundtrack blaring, your mind working overtime and recovering from the shock of excitement.

Waking up from an intense, weighty dream can inspire you and invigorate you, especially if for even just half a second, you think you’re waking and walking into another dream, even more stupendous, and of your own design.

2. Comparing things to video games infuriates me. But mostly it’s the people doing the comparing that bother me because, honestly, the idea of comparing things, especially movies, and certain modes of reality, to the idea of a “video game” interests me. I’m by no means a gamer, but the idea, and it’s possibilities, excites me.

Video games are like dreams in a certain regard, aren’t they? At times you’re completely powerful, in control of everything in your surroundings and yourself, and then, with little to no warning, you’re absolutely powerless and everything is completely out of control. The shit hits the fan, then the fan explodes, and somebody gets their head cut off.

Inception feels like a video game. It’s a cerebral maze of ideas, working on a multiple of levels, dabbling exquisitely in both terms of narrative, time structures, visual metaphors, and big ideas and memes (and sorry, everybody, I know the word is beyond detested, but the concept of it, the virus of the idea that spreads and can’t be killed is both thrilling and terrifying).

The other day Benjie Light and I were talking about things that we want to do in our lives, stupid things that we want to imitate from the movies/books/pop culture stories that we’ve ingested and loved over the years, and my big three things were 1) solve a mystery, preferably a locked room murder mystery, 2) plan and execute a (hopefully successful) heist, and 3) diffuse a bomb with mere seconds left on the clock. Commander Light also understandably suggested “car chase” as a scenario that would be nice to throw in the mix, and he’s right, but I’d toss that into the heist paradigm.

My point: I would love to play the video game based on Inception. The one that has a story that works brilliantly and ambitiously and only gets strange when a stranger suggests to you that something seems strange. And then you explore the depths of that strangeness. You have fist fights in rolling hallways, watch cities rise up to meet you, get attacked by angry mobs and the spectre of your Oscar-winning French hottie wife, fire guns, blow shit up, both run and chase after faceless nefarious goons, and deliver mind blowing bits of exposition while looking incredibly GQ.

Also, I’ll say this: Inception had a certain frame of mind to it that I feel like The Matrix could’ve really benefited from having had ten years ago.

It’s a video game that would excite you on a variety of levels, both on the superficial and the deeper, the more intellectual. A cerebral workout. An existential knife fight. The only thing that would make it better than the movie, though, would be that it was presumably interactive.

2 1/2. The thing I’ve noticed about Nolan’s films is that they’re all plot. They’re far from indulgent and long and dense and they move fast, leaving very little time for fireworks that are purely character building. In that sense, he’s the exact opposite of P.T. Anderson, who’s films are all character, and sometimes those characters move in a certain direction that takes them from a starting point to a stopping point. But in the exercises of narrative, Nolan manages to paint shades of characters, both skeletal sketches, like Cillian Murphy’s character in Inception, and those with the driving illusion of more depth, like Dicaprio’s in this film.

And grounded. So grounded. Nolan’s films are fantastical creatures of oneiric energy that are dreamed up by inhabitants of the real world. As scholarly influenced as they are, even their madness, and his, is grounded, and logical. His Gotham City and battle gear clad vigilantes are both out of this world and something that could play on the 5 o’cock news in this world.

Nolan doesn’t speak in a language of dragons and flying carpets and talking animals and liquid robots that morph in physics-defying feats of light and spectacle. His characters live in dreamlands based on urban mazes and high speed travel and real world concern and drabness. And they dream/create with the tools that their worlds give them.

Half of movies is glamor and glitz and show and all preconceived notions. And Nolan is good about using that, especially in his casting. Michael Caine can walk into just about any scene in a movie now and seem like the wise, but slightly jaded mentor who knows that you’re about to go down a pretty dark, fairly shitty path, but still supports your decision and has a few nuggets of sage wisdom for you. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a certain level of cool attached to himself, either earned or not earned. Ellen Page perfectly fits into the category of smart newbie who’s still learning the ropes and is beginning a journey, despite her probably immense and amazing knowledge of all things Cisco. Ken Watanabe always carries a certain sinister edge with him, though perhaps that’s just an occidental thing. And Leonardo Dicaprio has perfectly aligned himself with a certain archetype, that of the little boy grown up into a man, hardened with anger and guilt, and we’ve accepted him as the protagonist cipher who will either work through his issues or ultimately be destroyed by them.

My only complaint about the actual production/composition of this film is the level of soundtrack on display at all times. I really liked Hans Zimmer’s score to the film, so much so that I went and bought the soundtrack immediately after the movie concluded, which was a surreal experience all of it’s own since I saw the film at the theater in the mall which was a weird labyrinth to wander through as I was re-composing myself into reality after exiting the movie. Maybe it was just a bad mix at that theater, but the score seemed to be too loud at certain points, competing with the actors and their dialogue, sometimes defeating them a little, which is a shame because as I said, with Nolan’s movies, nothing is wasted, not a single shot, not a single glance or expression, and especially not a single word or sentence.

I think it’s safe to say that this is the kind of movie that Counterforce has been waiting for all of it’s short life (2+ years now).

SPOILERS, from here.

Apropos of nothing, here’s an idea that you should carry with you into viewing this movie: “just as movies are metaphorical dreams, maybe dreams are metaphorical movies.” Well said. Inception can be just another popcorn action heist movie for you if you want (especially in 2010, the year we make contact with heist movies like The Losers, The A-Team, and Takers), or it can be something more. Or both.

Benjamin Light put forth a desire that I’ll repeat here: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page should do more movies together. They’re the brightest of the hip young things in the world of thespians with cred these days, yes?

That said, amazingly, James Franco was close to getting Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s role originally. And Nolan’s original desire was to cast Evan Rachel Wood in the role of the architect, and then it floated towards Emily Blunt, Rachel McAdams, and even Emma Roberts before Ellen Page was cast. That’s just fascinating. And so bizarre.

3. I haven’t repeated the plot of Inception here and I’m not going to. Go look it up. Then watch the movie. Then watch it again. Here’s a spoiler though: Inception ends just like Shutter Island, after a fashion.

There’s a college course or at least a long conversation for armchair cineaists and philosophers in movies like Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Mulholland Drive, and Synecdoche, New York, and Inception belongs in the mix with them. Movies are all dream logic, especially more so in the last few years. At a certain point, a 1/3 or 2/3 of the way through movies with a certain “out there” kind of story, we start to look for the seams and loose threads of the eventual reveal that “it was all a dream.” Especially in Synechdoche, New York. By the end of that film, you’re pretty sure that at some point you’ve crossed over into a dream world, but the question is simply: Where? At least Mulholland Drive is a little more straight forward about that, at least, for the filmgoer with is both actively looking for and completely open to massive weird download of logic and strange visuals and strong, penetrating emotions the film requires you to take in.

Shutter Island almost belongs in that same thread of films, and somewhat suffered because of it. Read any two reviews of that film and at least one will say some variation of “I could guess the ending of this movie long before the finish line and you know why? Because I’ve seen movies before.” So little shocks us these days, and we’re somewhat let down by twist endings now just because they’re expected. We set an extra place at the dinner table for them. Identity was a fine, harmless movie, but after about 25 minutes into it, you were pretty sure that a crime was being committed against you and the culprit was going to be a writer with a flashy, showing idea about tricking your expectations.

And once you start to look for those tricks, you feel like a trick that’s been turned. You open your eyes, you see the money on the dresser.

At least Inception is up front and honest about all of this, with it’s simple and confounding tagline: “Your mind is the scene of the crime.”

from here.

To mix metaphors even more: I think one of the many problems with the modern take on “twist endings” and “it was all a dream” logic in the cinema is that your goals as a viewer and participant get too confused. Are you looking for the map or are you looking for where the map leads you. X is supposed to mark the spot, but it’s tough to translate that when you’re X in that equation.

And, slowly but surely, twist endings are becoming the new “Hollywood ending.” Once upon a time and through the woods and only in a dream can you live happily ever after.

The thing that saves Inception and Shutter Island‘s endings is that they fall down to the user. You’re required to make a certain level of decisions, to feel something, and decide what you believed just happened. You have to be both actively involved, and also open and ready to receive, you have to “get it,” and in return, the film lets you pick a path to go down. It was all dream. Or it wasn’t. The main character remembers everything. Or doesn’t. Something happened here. Or maybe it was there. Maybe it was earlier. Or later. This is a review. It isn’t.

Actually, it isn’t. Just my immediate reactions, of a sort, having just walked out of the movie something like two hours ago (it’s roughly 5 PM as I write this). Such a strange experience watching the end credits rolling for that movie. Like I was walking out of a half remembered dream of sorts, standing on a widening chasm between a narrative flashing on the walls of my unconscious/subconscious mind and the harsh light of day in the real world. Which works dually for this movie as well: An artsy movie full of deep ideas, or at least ideas that can feel deep, but done in a slick, expensively executed mainstream way. As if Michael Mann had remade 8 1/2.

The theater I was in was virtually empty, the two other people there with me more invisible than usual, and it was so strange to feel that as I walked out of the shared dream that is the cinema that way. Dreamspace faded away, light entered the room, the real world was knocking on the door, and I felt more alone than usual. It was a scary but important feeling, my brain decided as it’s gears grinded and took delight in processing what it just took in, but even still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the movie was over and now it was time to go back to sleep.

For one time and one place.

Tonight’s movie:

Sans Soleil, by Chris Marker, who’d previously done the short film La Jetée, which served as the inspiration for Terry Gilliam’s excellent 12 Monkeys.

The film is an experiment take on the documentary and the travelogue as a ficticious filmmaker sends footage and letters back to a woman, who narrates/shares with us his thoughts. It moves from place to place, not really concerned with narrative, and spends some time in Japan, Iceland, Paris, and San Francisco, where it pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s amazing Vertigo, probably my favorite film ever.

The film deals a lot with the ideas of travel and loneliness and memory (“remembering is not the opposite of forgetting“) and the idea that our memories can be replaced with film as a document, amongst other things. This is one of those movies I put on when I want to relax and it never fails to do the trick.

The English version of the film opens with this quote from T. S. Eliot’s Ash Wednesday:

“Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place”

Marker’s an enigmatic and reclusive filmmaker, mostly sticking to the documentary form, and careful to never let himself become the subject of the story. He refuses to do interviews and when he’s asked for a picture of himself, he instead sends along a picture of his cat, Guillaume. But that’s another story for another time. I’ll leave you with live footage of Blonde Redhead performing their song “Ego Maniac Kid” in front of a project of Marker’s Battle Of Ten Million