Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Film Studies: Dreams, Memory and Chaos

(Migrating some things from my film studies course--please feel free to provide comments about more films or articles/essays/bibliographies that fit this category)

Dreams, Memory and Chaos

General Readings:

Eig, Jonathan. “A Beautiful Mind(Fuck): Hollywood Structures of Identity.” Jump Cut 46 (Summer 2003)

Gaggi, Silvio. “Navigating Chaos.” New Punk Cinema. Ed. Nicholas Rombes. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005: 113-125.

Isaacs, Bruce. "Non-Linear Narrative." New Punk Cinema Ed. Nicholas Rombes. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005: 126-138.

Plate, S. Brent. “Filmmaking, Mythmaking, Culturemaking.” Representing Religion in World Cinema. Ed. S. Brent Plate. NY: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003: 1-15.

Readings of Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Dr. (France/USA: David Lynch, 2001)

Cain, Maximillian Le. “In Dreams: A Review of Mulholland Drive.” Senses of Cinema 19 (March-April 2002)

Ebert, Roger. “Review of Mulholland Drive.” Chicago Sun Times (October 12, 2001)

Falsetto, Mario. “There is No Band at Club Silencio: Thoughts on David Lynch and Mulholland Drive.” Synoptique 6 (Dec 6, 2004)

Frazer, Bryant. “Fast Friends: Mulholland Drive.” (2001)

Gessler, Nicholas. “Mulholland Drive: An Independent Analysis.” (September 29, 2002)

Koresky, Michael. “Altered Beast: Tropical Malady Meets Mulholland Drive.” Reverse Shot (Summer 2005)

Macaulay, Scott. “The Dream Factory.” Filmmaker Magazine (Fall 2001)

McGinn, Colin. "Dreams on Film."; "Reviewing the Dream Theory."; "How To Make a Dream." The Power of Movies: How Screen and Mind Interact NY: Pantheon Books, 2005": 100-157; 158-177; and 178-191. {For those that want to investigate more the theory of film and dreams.--the book is in our library.}

Ostherr, Kirsten and Arash Abizadeh. “Amnesia, Obsession, Cinematic U-Turns: On Mulholland Drive.” Senses of Cinema 19 (March-April 2002)

Rapfogel, Jared. “David Lynch.” Senses of Cinema 19 (March-April 2002)

Ruch, Allen B. “’No Hay Banda’: A Long, Strange Trip Down David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.” The Modern Word (April 23, 2002)

Sinnerbrink, Robert. “Cinematic Ideas: David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.” Film Philosophy 9.34 (July 2005)

Thill, Scott. “The Not-So-Straight Story: It’s Just Lynch Being Lynch. And That’s a Good Thing.” Bright Lights Film Journal 34 (October 2001)

Wyman, Bill, Max Garrone and Andy Klein. “Everything You Wanted to Know About Mulholland Drive.” Salon (October 23, 2001)

Zacharek, Stephanie. “David Lynch’s Latest Tour de Force.” Salon (October 12, 2001)

More Films:

Being John Malkovich (USA: Spike Jonze, 1999)
A completely unique story announced Spike Jonze (director) and Charlie Kaufman (screenwriter) as bold filmmakers. It is great to walk away from a film that you enjoyed and were provoked by and to think, I have never seen anything like this.... A great film.

The Big Lebowski (USA/UK: The Coen Brothers, 1998: 117 mins)
"The dude abides." A classic by the Coen Bros, that while not as mystifying as some of these films, still explores along the same lines who and what we are... has developed a cult following that has led to an annual conference/party in Louisville bowling alleys.

Blade Runner (USA/Hong Kong: Ridley Scott, 1982/1991)
Landmark, visionary science fiction film that at its essence is about what it means to be human. Hugely influential in the field of science fiction and has roots in the tradition of film noir. I would also consider it to be a profound (drawing from the root questions of its source author Philip K. Dick) meditation on human consciousness. Through the struggle of the rebel androids we are reminded of human hubris in believing that only they are self-reflectively conscious (a preposterous and arrogant assumption).

The Company Of Wolves (United Kingdom: Neil Jordan, 1984)
Neil Jordan's cinematic adaptation of Angela Carter's feminist reworking of traditional patriarchal fairy tales in the werewolf stories in the collection The Bloody Chamber (1979: "The Company of Wolves", "Wolf-Alice" and "The Werewolf") is structured through the symbolic dreams of a young girl. Rich, vivid, surreal film.

Dead Man (USA/Germany/Japan: Jim Jarmusch, 1995)
Johnny Depp plays the lead character in this acid-western dipped in the American (and European) Myth of the West filtered (or juxtaposed) through Native-American counter mythos.

Donnie Darko (USA: Richard Kelley, 2001: director’s cut)
Ignored when originally released in the theaters this film picked-up an audience through rentals and was later re-released with a new director's cut. Jake Gyllenhal and a stellar cast (one of my favorite on-screen families) plumb some philosophical/scientific concepts, while exposing a range of social hypocrisies.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (USA: Michel Gondry, 2004: 108 mins)
As always Charlie Kaufman writes about memory and identity. Great production design, the stunning Kate Winslet accompanying Jim Carrey in a tale of lost love and memories. What would you do to forget the pain of a lost love. Is it better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all?

Human Nature (France/USA: Michel Gondry, 2001: 91 mins)
Rowdy/Bawdy comedy that delves into and around some deep human/identity issues.

I Heart Huckabees (USA/Germany: David O. Russell, 2004: 106 mins)
One of my all-time favorite philosophical comedies with a great cast and intelligent writing. One of the few films that I went and watched a second time while it was in the theaters.

Jacob’s Ladder (USA: Adrian Lyne, 1990: 115 mins)
After-effects of war on the returned, damaged soldier. What is reality? What isn't? Who can you trust?

Kontrol (Hungary: Nimrod Antal, 2003)
Filmed entirely in the Budapest underground railway system. What could have been a typical workplace comedy, slowly builds through absurd events and surreal atmosphere into something much more complex. Alternating between slapstick, mystery and romance, but never falling into simplicity.

Lost Highway (France/USA: David Lynch, 1997)
If you thought Mulholland Drive was confusing, try this earlier effort. I've seen it four times and each time I came up with a different interpretation.

Memento (USA: Christopher Nolan, 2000)
A man searching for his wife's murderer deals with daily memory loss--a bold, memorable film.

Pi (USA: Darren Aronofsky, 1998)
An amazing blend of science, philosophy, math, religion and conspiracy theories--set to a unique visual style. Aronofsky's (Requiem for a Dream) first feature film. A startling, mind-blowing original look into the mystifying patterns of life (as viewed by the skewed person who is recognizing them)--should be studied by all beginning filmmakers to give them an idea of how an excellent screenplay and unique visual style can overcome a low budget. Minimalistic, yet complex. On my DVD copy there is a featurette on the making of the film--check it out if you watch it, great depiction of collective filmmaking and the independent spirit (of course always much more uplifting when it turns out a film like this).

Pulse (Japan: Kiyoshi Kurasowa: 2001: 118 mins)
What effect does our increasing relationship to technology and media have on us? A dark, foreboding, haunting, mysterious film.

Run, Lola, Run (Germany: Tom Tykwer, 1998)
How do the smallest choices change the direction of our lives? Chaos theory inflected thriller.

Save the Green Planet (South Korea: Joon-Hwan Jang, 2003)
Like Being John Malkovich and Pi, unlike any film I have seen before--I can't give anything away and would like to hear what others have to say about it.

The Science of Sleep (France/Italy: Michel Gondry, 2006)
Told through the protagonist Stephane's creative dreams and distorted reality this is a creative film that explores the nature of love, friendship, and relationships.

The Usual Suspects (USA/Germany: Bryan Singer, 1995)
Nothing like a good mystery with a surprise ending--a favorite of many. A must for detective/mystery/crime buffs.

Videodrome (Canada: David Cronenberg, 1983)
I first saw this in the theater as a teen and it literally freaked me out! It repulsed me and attracted me at the same time. Despite its low budget, it is a stunning meditation on the power of media to influence our memories and inform our dreams. In an increasingly media(tized) reality this film is even more important today.

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