- Aug 4, 2003Pursuant 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
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
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
ignoranceas when one falls sound asleep and finds oneself in the
midst of nightmares: running toward somewherepowerless to get away
while being pursuedin hand-to-hand combatbeing beatenfalling from
a heightbeing blown upward by the air, but without any wings;
sometimes, too, it seems that one is being murdered, though nobody is
giving chaseor 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
"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
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....
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