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8124Re: Vanilla Sky

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  • Gerry
    Aug 7, 2003
      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@y...>
      wrote:
      > 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....



      Yes, I did see the film one time straight through (and portions of it
      on two other occasions,) and was quite struck by the Gnostic themes.
      Ahhh, and how I DID love the voice of Sofía (via Penélope Cruz)!
      That gentle yet persistent prodding is something I'd like to program
      into my own alarm clock, but certainly not simply to avoid being late
      for work. ;-)

      I like how you noticed the progression of three states, but I found
      it quite difficult, myself, to keep up with the jumps in time. I was
      actually heartened to learn that in the original Spanish release,
      _Abre Los Ojos_, director Alejandro Amenábar also had reservations
      about the disjointed sequences. In the end, he agreed with co-writer
      Mateo Gil and opted for the more complicated presentation, instead of
      a linear approach, in order to avoid three separate stories that
      lacked cohesion. I gather he was merely talking about sub-plots
      there, but it works even better, IMO, when considering the three
      aspects of our nature.

      Having looked at what comments I could find from the writers and
      directors of both films, I'm not really convinced that the story was
      intended to be Gnostic, rather than simply an exercise in
      introspection and the quest for the nature of true love. Perhaps
      it's a matter of our being left somewhat in the dark since, all too
      often, directors are reluctant to spell out exactly what they feel is
      their inspiration (and intent) with a given film. From what I've
      seen, for instance, the Wachowski Brothers gave a downright cryptic
      response when asked directly about Gnostic influences in _The
      Matrix_. I guess no one wants to alienate other groups who relate to
      a film on their own terms.

      Still, the imagery is there. One scene I really enjoyed was actually
      hated by one of the reviewers I read. At the birthday party, Sofía
      is almost playfully passing her hand back and forth through a
      holographic image of John Coltrane. I'm not sure if the critic
      thought it was disrespectful or simply gratuitous, but when
      considering the character as Sophia, it seemed to me quite
      appropriate that she should be testing the "reality" of the jazz
      musician's "apparent" image.

      Among the observations you made during the film, did you notice more
      than one instance of a character asking, "Do you believe in God?" I
      know Julie asked David while they were in the car, but it also seems
      like David repeated the same question at a later time (I vaguely
      recall that from one of those groggy previews I had, but I forgot to
      pay attention for a recurrence when I finally saw the film in its
      entirety). I may have to watch it again just to see if the context
      of that reiteration (if it happened) has changed as well, in which
      case Julie's notion might have been more in line with the Demiurge,
      while David's might have been of a more transcendent deity.

      Overall, I quite enjoyed it, Cari. I'm already wondering about the
      themes to be found in _Pleasantville_. That will probably be next on
      my list, at least, as soon as it makes the rounds on digital cable.

      Gerry
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