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8123Vanilla Sky

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  • lady_caritas
    Aug 4, 2003
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      Pursuant to a recent recommendation from a good friend, I finally got
      around to seeing the film, _Vanilla Sky_, on cable yesterday. Has
      anyone else seen this movie? I thought it was quite full of Gnostic
      imagery and myth. I saw a gradual progression through hylic, psychic
      stages to a spiritual awakening for the protagonist, David Aames.

      David's friend, Julie Gianni, seems to represent the hylic nature,
      especially with her obsession with the material--preoccupation with
      sex, jealousy, and her feeling that the "body makes promises."
      Interesting though that from the very beginning of the movie, we see
      recurring motifs, offering pneumatic glimpses of things to come, such
      as the alarm clock programmed to say, "Open your eyes," a phrase
      repeated later... and the recurring theme of duality spoken through
      various characters, "the sweet is never as sweet without the sour."
      There are other interesting ideas to explore, for instance, the name
      David gives the Board, "The Seven Dwarfs," David's relationship with
      his friend, Brian, and much more that others here may want to comment
      on.

      After Julie's suicidal car accident, which leaves her passenger,
      David, disfigured, we see the impermanent, corruptible side of the
      material body. We begin to see David's anguish when forced to face
      what is real, the "sour" as well as the "sweet." Earlier, before the
      accident, at his birthday party, David has nonchalantly commented
      that he is "livin' the dream." Yes, he is at that
      point "asleep." ;) At the party he also meets Sofia, who becomes a
      pivotal savior (soter/healer) figure. She believes in David, and he
      believes he "actually deserved it." When he is with Sofia, he
      appears healed, no longer disfigured.

      David's "dream" world then begins to turn more nightmarish,
      especially after the accident. He wears a prosthetic mask,
      ostensibly to aid in his healing, which provides a false "face" to
      the world of appearances. His relationship with Sofia grows
      stronger, but then takes a turn when his state of mind becomes
      fragile and Sofia turns into Julie and then vice versa, ending in the
      disturbed David killing Sofia, mistaking her for Julie, in the heat
      of passion.

      I was reminded of a passage from _The Gospel of Truth_:
      "Thus they were unacquainted with the father, since it was he whom
      they did not see. Inasmuch as he was the object of fear and
      disturbance and instability and indecisiveness and division, there
      was much futility at work among them on his account, and (much) empty
      ignorance—as when one falls sound asleep and finds oneself in the
      midst of nightmares: running toward somewhere—powerless to get away
      while being pursued—in hand-to-hand combat—being beaten—falling from
      a height—being blown upward by the air, but without any wings;
      sometimes, too, it seems that one is being murdered, though nobody is
      giving chase—or killing one's neighbors, with whose blood one is
      smeared: until, having gone through all these dreams, one awakens.
      Those in the midst of all these troubles see nothing, for such things
      are (in fact) nothing."

      After being arrested, David recounts his story to a psychologist,
      Curtis McCabe. He becomes a "father" image. Curtis at one point
      says, "Show me your face. Help me open the door." But even this
      relationship is eventually shown to be a psychic imagining, a
      father "image." The psychic Curtis does not enter the pneumatic
      awakening with David.

      We are introduced to Edmund Ventura, the "tech support," who aids
      David in his rediscovery of what is real. He encourages David to
      calm down and gain control. David looking inside of himself
      encounters a bit of solipsism in his path. But he soon discovers
      that there is something greater than his own mind. There is
      a "cryogenic" outfit that Edmund works for that has arranged
      this "dream" life because David has really already "physically"
      died. The company, LE ("Life Extension") makes "lucid
      dreams," "living dreams"; they are involved in "revolution of the
      mind." Of course, David's dreams have become nightmares, and, being
      in a somewhat suspended state, he is ready to make a decision.
      Should he go back to his dreamworld or go forward and conquer his
      fear of heights?

      I'll admit that when the cryogenic theme first appeared early in the
      movie (via Sofia), I was somewhat taken aback at the introduction of
      what would literally be considered to be a material extension of
      life, but then at the end I viewed this as simply a symbolic avenue,
      partly because of a question the tech support asked David, "What is
      happiness to you, David?"

      Now, David had been asked this very same question before by his hylic
      friend, Julie, and the psychic "father image," the psychologist,
      Curtis. But in both the earlier instances, they hadn't waited for an
      answer from David, that I recall anyway (although I may be mistaken),
      before expounding their own views. Edmund, on the other hand, waited
      for David's answer, which was, "I want to live a real life." David
      had remembered another recurring phrase, "In every passing minute is
      a chance to turn it around."

      He leaps from the tall building housing "LE" and gains his freedom,
      now "dying" to both the physical and psychic bonds.

      To quote further from the passage from _The Gospel of Truth_ above,
      "Such are those who have cast off lack of acquaintance from
      themselves like sleep, considering it to be nothing. Neither do they
      consider its other products to be real things. Rather, they put them
      away like a dream in the night, and deem acquaintance with the father
      to be the light. That is how each person acted while being without
      acquaintance: as though asleep. And the person who has acquaintance
      is like one who has awakened. And good for the person who returns
      and awakens! And blessed is the one who has opened the eyes of the
      blind!

      "And the quick spirit hastened after that person when the person had
      awakened; having helped the one who lay prostrate on the ground, it
      made that one strong enough to stand up; for that person had not yet
      arisen."

      The movie ends, showing David's eye, and we hear the familiar voice
      of Sofia saying, "Open your eyes." The "quick spirit" of Sofia has
      helped the prostrate David once again? Are we seeing the lower or
      the higher Sofia here?

      Oh, I have gone on here, haven't I... LOL

      I'll stop for now, and let others agree/disagree with me and/or share
      some insightful ideas....


      Cari
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