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8125Re: Vanilla Sky

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  • pmcvflag
    Aug 7, 2003
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      Ok, my turn *lol*. I had seen this movie some time ago, but after
      Lady Cari's report I was forced to take a second look. This time,
      however, I cheated. I watched it once straight through, then once
      with the director/screenwriter's comentary. My take.....

      My previous impression of the film had been to write it off as just
      another solipsist movie (a pet peave of mine), but I have rethought
      that... I do see some Gnostic elements. There is, most definately,
      the notion of awakening to an absolute reality that I had missed
      before (well, it was very late after a long party *cough*). I do not
      think that the writer intended any Gnostic elements, but that is
      sometimes the beauty of pop art.

      In fact, I use the term "pop art" very intentionally. Something I
      completely missed, even on this recent watching, until the director
      pointed it out in his comentary, was just how soaked with popular
      iconography this movie was. Many scenes in the movie were taken from
      other movies, album covers, song lyrics, etc. (for instance, once
      scene with Aames and Sofia walking together was actually a Bob Dylan
      cover). The director intended this to tie in with the very first
      scene of the movie in which Aames rund out into Times Square NY with
      no company but advertisements on the buildings... popular images. The
      director states that he is fascinated with the effect of popular
      culture on the psyche.

      I point this out because of how elements from Gnosticism can pop up
      in themes where none is intended by the artist. Is it a matter of us
      writing more into a plot than really exists? OR!!! Could it be that
      some elements have simply not died from western thought, and thus
      have a tendency to find exploration through mediums via distant,
      vague, or even subconcious influence of things that are rattling
      around in popular western thought to this very day.

      I was not able to pick out the movement through the three human
      states, the way Lady Cari did... I remain oblivious (nothing new
      there *lol*). I could however pick out the basic two elements of
      illusion vs truth. From the directors perspective the first part of
      the movie was truth, which then melded with the illusion that Cruz
      bought from the cryogenic company, which in turn opened back up into
      the truth of Aames waking up again at the very end of the movie.
      However, the waking up at the end of the movie, once again to a
      female voice (which, the director is careful to state, is a third
      voice not yet known to Aames... a nurse at the cryogenic company)
      stating much the same thing as the voice at the beginning of the
      movie, begs the question of whether we are starting over with the
      same kind of dream... I hope not *lol*.

      BTW, Gerry... I loved Pleasantville. It appeals to my Carpocratian
      tendencies ;)

      PMCV

      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Gerry" <gerryhsp@y...> wrote:
      > --- 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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