I Must Be Dreaming
Will you come along with me? I have this idea about film and why it can be so powerful, and why we relate to it so strongly. So come along and pretend that you are SEEING what I’m going to describe to you. Okay?
Here’s a man walking through a park. It’s a warm, sunny day, and he’s feeling good, and the park is green and flowered and it’s close to the ocean, on a bluff above the Pacific, like Palisades Park in Santa Monica.
The man is thinking about that great steak he had for lunch, and while he’s thinking about it, we SEE the steak, sizzling on a plate. Now we’re back with the walking man, ambling along. He has a habit of jingling the change in his pocket as he walks, and we SEE for a moment, right into his pocket, see his fingers fluttering that dime and two quarters.
Now we watch him choose a bench and sit, and very soon, a lovely young woman comes smiling toward him. He doesn’t know her. She asks, “Would you like me to do what I do?”
He’s surprised, wondering. He says, “Well, I don’t’ know. What do you do?”
“I dance,” she says, and she begins dancing right there in front of him, and she’s very good. She begins a twirl, and she twirls faster and faster until she is just ... a blur. And then this blur ... disappears!
The man stands up, stunned, and looks around. Where is she? He happens to notice, then, that below him, near the beach, there is a large yacht passing by. And there she is, on the deck of that yacht, waving at him.
So, what we’ve been looking at, what we have actually SEEN, must be on film, because of that cutting to a steak, to a pocket, because of that twirling, that blur, that yacht, a film can do all of that, but, no, I have not been describing a film. Then what else could it be? What else behaves like that? Oh, I know ... the human dream state. That’s right. A nighttime dream behaves like that, and I believe that of all the arts, film is the closest to the human dream state. I also believe that is why film can have such power over us, can capture us and sweep us anywhere, everywhere.
When we dream, we become, in a way, an entire movie company, building amazing sets, creating, for instance, a crowded antique shop with hundreds of objects cluttered together on the tables, the shelves. We choose these objects, instantly. We create all of it, and then we jump away from this shop and are captured now by the sight of a mammoth desert dune, and we hear thundering, and now we see, we SEE, six hundred horsemen riding over that dune, and all this time it is us, our subconscious, making a dream.
So the movie, a new art form, was invented only, what? One hundred and twenty years ago? And it captivated us very quickly, and soon it grew, with invention and imagination, into a more and more realistic vision that could take hold of us and yank us inside, inside of this Motion Picture, because, in a way, we have always been inside of it, and it has always been inside of us, every since we were able to dream.
Thank you for coming along with me on that exploration. There are other topics I want to share with you, but, for now, I want to guide you to the Family of Writers page of this site, where more good news keeps piling up. Please check it out.