Dream of Consciousness
Richard Linklater's brilliant "Waking Life" picks up on the ideas in "Slackers" and takes them in a whole new direction, with animation and dialogue both uprooted from reality in an exploration of our subconscious world.
By MARIANA CARREľO KING
(Originally reviewed at the New York Film Festival.)
Two children introduce the film playing a fortune-telling game in which the answer is: "Dream is destiny." Then, an unspecified, unaffected young man floats around in this dream world where, when he wakes up, well, it's just another dream much like a lot of us are feeling these days. During this surreal journey, he encounters people from all walks of life hippies, anarchists, scientists, existentialists, fundamentalists who happily share with him their knowledge and opinions about pretty much everything. "There's no story," a man tells him, "just people, gestures, moments, bits of rapture, fleeting emotions. In short, the greatest story ever told" and with those words, he accidentally describes how brilliant this film is.
Using the same concept as "Slackers," going through a series of vignettes without an apparent order, often hiring non-actors, Richard Linklater takes "Waking Life" a step further. The film was shot and edited as a live action, then the footage was painted over by a team of thirty animators led by Bob Sabiston, also the creator of the software, in a process called "rotoscoping." (A technique pioneered in Ralph Bakshi's 1978 version of "Lord of the Rings" but used to unhinge reality as much as imitate it here.) Each animator was in charge of one character, the result being a mind-blowing experience, a dream world where nothing is static people, objects, and even dialogue seem to be floating in space, a weightless world where anything can happen.
|Written and directed by: Richard Linklater.|
Cast: Peter Atherton, Trevor Jack Brooks, Steve Brudniak, John Christensen, Julie Delpy, Charles Gunning, Ethan Hawke, Nicky Katt, Kim Krizan, Timothy "Speed" Levitch, Lorelei Linklater, Louis Mackey, Steven Prince, Steven Soderbergh, Ken Webster, Wiley Wiggins..
Cinematography: Richard Linklater, Tommy Pallotta.
Art Director: Bob Sabiston.
Related links: Official site
| RELATED ARTICLES|
New York Film Festival 2001|
All About Lily Chou-Chou
Blue Wild Angel
The Royal Tenenbaums
Sobibor, October 14, 1943, 4 p.m.
Y Tu Mama Tambien
Some of the characters in "Waking Life" return from other Linklater films. Wiley Wiggins as the unconcerned dreamer here was a lead in 1993's "Dazed and Confused"; Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy play the same roles they had in 1995's "Before Sunrise"; and Lois Mackey, the old anarchist in 1991's "Slackers," continues his discourse, now posing the question "What's the most universal human characteristic fear or laziness?"
New characters in this detailed map of human consciousness include Richard Linklater's daughter (Lorelei Linklater) and her friend (Trevor Jack Brooks) as the children reading their fortune at the beginning of the film; Speed Levitch (the New York tour guide whose poetic vision of Manhattan was immortalized in the documentary "Cruise"), who says to Wiley Wiggins, walking on what appears to be Brooklyn Bridge, "On really romantic nights of self, I go salsa dancing with my confusion"; and Richard Linklater himself, who also plays an essential role in Wiley Wiggins's journey, giving him a destiny and then telling him to wake up. "There's only one instant, and it's right now, and it's eternity," he says.|
With its amazing animation, endless ideas and clever humor, "Waking Life" is the kind of film worth seeing more than once.
|OCTOBER 20, 2001|
OFFOFFOFF.COM THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK
Reader comments on Waking Life:
woww!!!! from shinta nurwulan, Feb 18, 2002
movie? from Cameron Lind, May 2, 2003
Post a comment on "Waking Life"