actofseeingwenders - The Act o f Seeing I t is my...

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The Act of Seeing It is my conviction that a film has to be preceded by a dream, either a real dream of the sort that you wake up and remember, or a daydream. I don't want to absolutely insist on this, it probably doesn't apply to all films. A lot of films don't have any truck with dreams, they are the product of calculation, and the type of investment they represent is not emotional but financial. But I'm not concerned with them here. I'm thinking of films that have a soul, a discernible core, that radiate their own identity. These have all been 'dreamed up', of that I feel certain. Now making a film can be a lengthy enterprise, in the course of which difficulties may arise that provoke doubts or that even cloud the original intention altogether. In such an event, you need a source of energy that won't dry up or run out. This strength, which can nourish a film from the moment of its original conception to its finished print is, for want of a better word, the 'soul' of a film, its own dream of itself. (Which isn't to say that a film has to end up looking just like its own first dream-image; on the contrary, the strength of its 'dream' is what will permit the film to survive intact all its bruising encounters with reality and whatever new conditions are imposed on it, and keep it open to all manner of change, departure and topsy-turviness.) What was the dream behind To the End of the World, what kept it going these past twelve years? What was its 'ur-image'? The love story, the science fiction film, the road movie? Or a combination of all three? It seems to me that from the outset there was something else behind it which had the strength to hold together these disparate elements, a theme they all held in common. I remember in my first notebook for the film noting something from Roland Barthes's A Lover's Discourse: 'Images. In the amorous realm, the most painful wounds are inflicted more often by what one sees than by what one knows.' Mysterious though that sentence seemed to me at first, I
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THE ACT OF SEEING 19 felt right away how relevant it was to our film - nothing more than a plan at the time - because of the way it brought together the three ideas of 'love', 'images' and 'seeing'. But how can 'images' or 'seeing' be the subject for a film, for a love story even? Isn't there something redundant in the idea of a 'film about seeing'? Or could a science fiction film perhaps shed some new light on it? The desire to make a science fiction film is largely motivated by the extraordinary imaginative freedom the form gives you. You can really do pretty much anything in it. The further into the future you go, the more freedom you have. (The thing that often bothers me about science fiction films is when they fail to take sufficient liberties. The characters in 1950S sf films talk and act like people in the 50S did, and a thousand years from now the characters in 1970S science fiction will still come on like 70S people, they'll be there for all time, acting out their petty conflicts the way
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actofseeingwenders - The Act o f Seeing I t is my...

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