To Sleep So As to Dream (1986)

Mysterious Silences

As my readers know, I study folding in film; when films have parallel positions for the viewer as supported by the construction of the thing. Usually, this is a fluid contract between filmmaker and viewer that requires deeper engagement.

I like these in part because I literally fold my life into certain films, and believe that many others do as well. As we build these complex introspective structures, we evolve as a society. So these experiences both enrich my personal being and illuminate my personal work in next gen AI.

This is a remarkable film, situated in many traditions: silent films from the 1920s, ‘hard boiled’ detective noir of the 1950s, but the one I frame it with is Japanese cinema. So it won’t have the dreaminess of Madden, the precision of Tarkovsky, or the defined layers of Ruiz.

It will start with the driving energy of Kurosawa, and the Noh tradition.

I liked the folds, all of which are explicable within their own layer. I liked that there is a revealed explanation that anchors in the aged actress’ mind, the magic that a film holds can overtake and control the world. Her being given some magical, hallucinogenic powder at end of life so she can end her film is good framing.

Having the film and the characters and their loves persist after her death is good. The technical decisions of sound and shifting narration are a joy.

If there is a flaw for this viewer, it is that — at least the copy I saw — made some bad decisions in bending to the imperfections of old film. This could have been an opportunity to be more cinematic and honoured. But hey, this was a first film!

Posted in 2022

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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