Sunday, December 04, 2011

AIFF 2011: Dream Factory - Strange World Without Dreams in Israeli Film Andante

If Anselm Kiefer were a film maker, I imagine his films might look like this one.  Industrial, dark, wood, and machinery.  I like films that experiment with the idea of what a film can be, that explore beyond the literal story telling of most movies.  And I had read the blurb about the film, so I wasn't completely clueless about what the director had in mind.   Actually, this description, a part of what is on the film's website, is more than the film festival offered:
The men and women of the society in Andante had lost the physiological capability of dreaming in their sleep, and consequently the means of achieving deep and meaningful sleep in itself. At the belly of some sort of a factory, fast asleep in his bed is an old man - the last person who is still dreaming. The technological means were found at the factory to extract the signals produced by his brain in order to then project his dreams onto a screen used for public screenings as a synthetic substitute for the lost privet faculty. The plot takes place during a single night when the old man is expected to pass away, and follows Sarah – a young woman that is found out to have been dreaming again. As a replacement for the dying old "Mr. Coma" is desperately sought after, Sarah is then worked through the various technological and symbolic induction procedures, into the role of eternal sleep.

But it was more a movie for just letting go of preconceptions of movies and just watch the lighting (perhaps darking is more appropriate here), the textures, the sounds.  Such sounds, deep and industrial (there's that word again) that penetrated your body.  This is the kind of movie where audience members who didn't know what to expect, leave somewhere along the line.  I'd guess there were maybe 20 folks in the theater, but I don't think anyone left.

Here's what some audience members thought:   

Reviewer Richard Props who saw Andante at the Indy Film Festival in Indianapolis gave it some credit but said, "Andante is all style without substance."  The Anchorage audience reactions seems to agree - even those who liked it had no clue as to the story line if they hadn't read it in advance.   A film doesn't have to have content, but given the lengthy description of the plot on the Andante website, it would seem that an audience member should not have to read the description before going to the movie.

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