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Re: Vanilla Sky

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  • Gerry
    ... not ... from ... Dylan ... Especially with Cameron Crowe s interpretation would we expect to find the immense infusion of pop-culture references (certainly
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 8, 2003
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      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > 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)....


      Especially with Cameron Crowe's interpretation would we expect to
      find the immense infusion of pop-culture references (certainly with
      the music), but since I still haven't seen the Spanish version, I'm
      not sure of the authors' original goal in that regard.

      Still, take a look at what Crowe's production designer planned for
      fleshing out David's character through his surroundings:

      "To that end, Hardwicke adorned the walls with reproductions of
      classic works by Balthus, Rothko and Matisse, as well as some
      evocative canvasses by local Los Angeles artists. Quirky personal
      items also accented the rooms, such as a hand-painted Jason Lee
      original skateboard, emblazoned with the image of David Bowie; a huge
      surfboard sculpture from Hardwicke's own collection; and an homage to
      Crowe's rock & roll past in the form of several guitars, including a
      smashed one, lovingly framed behind glass.

      "Tom and Cameron emphasized that they wanted to convey David Aames'
      vitality," Hardwicke says, "so we used sports equipment in a
      decorative way like this amazing, dreamlike painting of the side of a
      car by Robert Russell. The piece is just so indicative of everything
      that happens in the film, in terms of cars and driving, and I thought
      it kicked ass."

      http://www.cameroncroweonline.com/films/vanillasky/productionnotes.htm

      Well, between Bob Dylan and David Bowie, you once again can find
      lyrical themes that resonate with Gnosticism, and in the case of the
      latter, a musician who actually professes an affinity toward Gnostic
      thought. Was the skateboard chosen because it was sporty and "kicked
      ass," or to patronize fellow actor/artist Jason Lee, or were there
      unseen forces at work influencing people's choices without their
      being aware?

      The decision to include archetypal images is certainly deliberate,
      but one wonders if it's often in merely a psychoanalytical context to
      give a film's characters greater depth. You can easily find that
      introspective element in a movie like _Fight Club_, but for a film
      that's often referred to as "Gnostic," it seems to be quite lacking
      with regard to the mythos, as in something like _The Truman Show_.

      As for _Pleasantville_ then, I'm looking forward to seeing it,
      especially after learning that it all started with a red apple. ;-)

      Gerry
    • lady_caritas
      Thanks, Gerry and PMCV, for viewing the film again and offering some wonderful insights. I ll admit I didn t take the time to research or listen to
      Message 2 of 5 , Aug 8, 2003
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        Thanks, Gerry and PMCV, for viewing the film again and offering some
        wonderful insights. I'll admit I didn't take the time to research or
        listen to behind-the-scenes comments, partly because I initially
        wanted to see what impression the movie made on me with only my
        preconceptions before adding those of others. LOL

        It will probably be easier if I just copy and paste relevant pieces
        of your posts to respond to.

        Gerry (#8124) ~
        "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 AmenĂ¡bar 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."

        Yes, following the jumps in time requires a lot of concentration, and
        honestly, I didn't immediately unscramble a linear progression of
        three states, so much as I observed them in hindsight. Near the end,
        scattered pieces tended to fall together. I'll admit that although I
        interpreted the "subplots" as "three aspects of our nature," I'd
        agree with PMCV that it is not at all apparent that this was the
        writer/director's intention. And, even though a movie might contain
        Gnostic motifs doesn't mean it necessarily should be categorized as
        a "Gnostic" movie. As you say, Gerry ~

        "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."

        Most certainly.

        (In an interview I skimmed ~
        http://www.warnervideo.com/matrixevents/wachowski.html
        The Wachowski Brothers admitted to being influenced by some Buddhist
        ideas in making the film, but when asked, "Have you ever been told
        that the Matrix has Gnostic overtones?"--their response was, "Do you
        consider that to be a good thing?" Ha! Gotta watch out for a
        backlash from those who might not consider Gnostic overtones to be
        acceptable if they are considered *heretical*!)

        Heh, sometimes I wonder if writers/directors even fully know wherein
        their inspiration lies. As you say, Gerry, maybe _Vanilla Sky_, is
        about the "quest for the nature of true love." This has been a theme
        in so much literature throughout the ages. Might this love include a
        spiritual component? Our unconscious nonrational side is not always
        so easily rationalized, especially if one considers possible
        archetypal motifs transcending time that PMCV addresses below. This
        would go beyond even conscious archetypal images deliberately used,
        as you suggest, Ger. The writer's/director's own psyches could be
        explored, too, regarding choices (for instance, the "nurse" I'll
        discuss later). ~

        PMCV (#8125):
        "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."

        Ah, yes, and considering Gerry's comments about beliefs in God
        (#8124), I'm reminded of David being wheeled into surgery,
        singing, "What if God was one of us?..."

        PMCV, you had the benefit of listening to director comments (#8125) ~
        "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*."

        I would hope not, too, PMCV. Is the director really listening to his
        own words? If David is "waking up again" to "truth" (as exemplified
        in the beginning of the movie), why is he waking up to the voice of a
        nurse at the cryogenic company? How on earth is the uninformed
        viewer supposed to even surmise that at the end without more
        background researching of source material or his directorial notes
        here? LOL Gosh, after just seeing the Sofia image in the last
        scene, my mind must have been playing tricks on me because the voice
        sounded so much like hers. But then I only saw the movie one
        time. ;-) I suppose I'd better review it, too. Nonetheless I am
        also struck by the idea that a *nurse*, a healer, was chosen to tell
        David to open his eyes, instead of the recorded voice by hylic
        Julia. Did the director have any further comments as to why this
        nurse was chosen? I wonder if we're possibly seeing an unconscious
        (soter) motif emerge or am I really stretching here. :-) A Gnostic
        interpretation would view the first part of the movie as reality, but
        not the only reality. A materialist would see a return to the
        material; however, a Gnostic version might include a spiritual
        reality at the end. And, as you say, PMVC, if not, are we
        only "starting over with the same kind of dream"? Is David in some
        kind of vicious cycle? A rather depressing thought, eh? David
        expressed that he wanted to "live a real life." I suppose a viewer's
        sense of reality might play a large role in reading that final scene.

        "Pleasantville"? I, like Gerry, will have to see this one,
        too. "Carpocratian tendencies," PMCV? Incorrigible you
        remain.... ;->


        Cari
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