Essay on The Correlation Between Film and Dreams

Essay on The Correlation Between Film and Dreams

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When you stop to think about it, our ability to understand what goes on in a typical Hollywood film is shocking. Images jump from one to the next with little to no linearity. Perspectives jump around as if a person is spinning and floating around, and music and sounds emanate from nowhere and everywhere at once. The lights dim. Your body shifts about to get comfortable. It’s not bed time however. It’s time for a movie! The strong correlation between our film watching setting, and our dream making setting is too closely tied to be considered mere coincidence. Colin McGinn, author of The Power of Movies, in chapter four titled “Dreams on Film”, says “A child has to learn to read before a literary narrative can be processed, but watching a film requires nothing much beyond the capacity to dream” (113). McGinn argues that the reasons we are able to understand film so easily and readily, is because of our ability to dream. In dreaming, we create visual fantasies that seem to reflect memories and images we experience in our own lives. We might wake up in a heavy sweat, a confused state of mind, or a smile on our face, and it is these same emotions that can be brought about by film. Our ability to create and consume film stems from our innate ability to imagine and understand dreams. Robert Rodriguez’s film adaptation “Sin City” is a perfect case study of how film and dreams are interrelated.
To understand the connection between dreams and film, one must first understand what dreams are. Neurobiologically, dreams are visual spatial thoughts and images that are played out during the unconscious period of sleep. The forebrain is active, while a person remains unconscious. It is contested whether or not dreaming starts before the age of f...


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.... Jackie-Boy’s blue car. The Yellow Bastard. Each image draws our attention and stirs up an unknown or minor feeling within.
In conclusion, Domhoff states that “…it needs to be stressed that there is little to no systematic evidence that dreams make use of the vast system of figurative thought available in waking life…” (13). It is at this point where he and I part ways. Though there has been no direct scientific study done, I would argue that movies are in fact dreams that make use of “the vast system of figurative thought available in waking life”. Through the expressions of directors and film makers like Rodriguez, a vast array of our collective psyche is expressed and exposed. Each moment of surprise, lust, joy, et cetera, is capable of being captured in our two hour filmic experiences. Film is where our reality meets fantasy and our dreams become corporeal art

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