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Dreams in Cinema

Cinema may well be considered as both a mirror of reality and a dream factory. For one, cinema represents an effective instrument of distraction, a vehicle for making internal or external desires come true in a conditioned or ideal world. On the one hand, it derives its imageries from pigments of some realistic symbols as experiential vehicles. On the other hand, if the cinema is used to reproduce the reality, it could also represent the dreams. The concept of dream has many significations and meanings as they are transposed into cinema.

The dream may refer to hallucinations, madness or deliria where a series of ideas, images, emotions and sensations (oftentimes unrelated) are involuntary occurring in the mind during the unconscious or subconscious state. It may represent a reverie, a daydream or escape from reality where reality is to some extent distorted to adjust to one’s state of mind or emotion. It may also refer to an aspiration for the achievement of a thing or condition that is longed for.

The dream has been widely used in films for conveying diverse messages to the audience. Primitive cinema has in fact attempted to transpose on the screen the dream and has offered the same dream to many to show the ghosts of unreality, or expose the audience to their inner selves including their fears, anxieties and aspirations. The dreams in films may consent to satisfy the hidden desires which are the consequences of the characters’ (and even the audiences’) wavering vigilance upon the external world.

The use of dreams in films may be attributed to the fact that although the film, just like dreams, may be easily forgotten, it “retains sediments in the memory, which constitutes our cultural background” (J. M Carroll, 1980). The concept of dream was in the centre of European cinematography from the 20’s and until today, it is still extensively being utilized by many directors as an artifice in order to increase the expressive possibilities of cinematographic language.

The cinematic dimensions and utility of dreams can extensively be taken advantage of in films to convey varying messages (inclusive of emotions and ideas), progress the films, and reflect to some extent pigments of reality that the directors try to manipulate. This is illustrated in the following three films which utilized the concept of dreams in various ways: A. In Un Chien Andalou (1928) by Bunuel, pigments of reality are represented through a dream, and the dream becomes the film;

In Brazil (1985) by Terry Gilliams, the dream is a dream of freedom and the vehicle to escape from reality, and; C. In La Jetee (1962) by Chris Marker, the dream, is the dream of tranquility where the protagonist tried to reach this state through the dream itself. The Surrealistic Dream in Un Chien Andalou Through the Surrealist movement the dream became one of the inspirational diversions from the French avant-garde. Commercial film production of those years, has in fact, prevalently utilized film only as a simple narrative pretext to introduce a fantastic, irrational, marvellous cinema.

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