Waking Life (USA; 99min.)


directed by: Richard Linklater
starring: Wiley Wiggins; Julie Delphy; Ethan Hawke
Waking Life
 
Diane says: "Janet and I loved "Waking Life." The effect of digitally painting over film is beautiful. In this movie, a mélange of 50 characters impart wisdom to a dreamer. While one review I read said that WAKING LIFE is about destiny (or something like that), I think that it's more about being open to encounters with the Other, whether inside ourselves or outside ourselves. The "holy moment" scene was an authentic I-You encounter, and was contrasted with the scenes of characters who were concerned only for themselves, and saw others as objects (I-It): the man in jail, the man with the PA system on his car, the man in the bar. I loved the lines that Linklater gave to himself at the end: we experience time because we keep saying no to God's invitation to eternity. Then the dreamer goes off into the Infinite...." 5 cats.
 
Michael says: "While I agree with Shannon, WAKING LIFE is quite a grounbreaking, unique and experimental film, I also agree with Laura, that it is a really good film, but didn't knock my socks off.

This animated film by Richard Linklater (DAZED AND CONFUSED) follows the dream journey of the main character. The audience learns as he does, as various characters discuss a whole gamut of topics such as the nature of free will, the limitations of language, and lucid dreaming. The "holy moment" scene was truly sublime, and definitely the high point of the film for me. I found it interesting that the early part of the film was a little difficult to take, with scholarly philosophizing and little participation by the main character. Yet I feel Linklater does this intentionally, his character becoming more and more involved as he learns more. Definitely thought-provoking and great fodder for discussion. 4 cats
 
Nathaniel says: "Very thought provoking and incredibly beautiful to watch. I'm anxious to see TAPE as a companion piece as well... but this combined with MULHOLLAND DRIVE are the two must sees out there right now and they both traffic in dreamstates to a certain degree. Very interesting stuff. (Side note: Great score by Clover Gill -the music is super and fits the film perfectly.) My favorite section of the film was the "holy moment" in which two men pontificate about something about regarding the purpose and divine nature of cinema. There's a religion I can get behind!"
 
Robin says: "WAKING LIFE is definitely experimental filmmaking that combines varied aspects of the craft. The animation of the live action is interesting and, if you can put up with the philosophical bull that sometimes spews from the characters, there are some interesting ideas put forth, too. But, it is not the kind of movie that is going to attract the mainstream, multiplex moviegoer. This isn't the kind of film that you can leave your brain at home to go see. Linklater requires a commitment from his audience that will garner some amusement and provoke thought, but its non-conventionality will be a turn-off to the less tolerant viewer."
For Robin's complete review: "http://www.reelingreviews.com/wakinglife.htm"
 
Shannon says: "I was able to catch Richard Linklater's newest film WAKING LIFE at the Denver International Film Festival last weekend. All I can say is: wow. It was a completely groundbreaking experimental work. For those of you who are not familiar with the process used to make the film, here's a little background: Linklater filmed it in the conventional way, i.e., actors, sets, sound, props, etc. After the film was completed and edited, artists went through and hand painted each frame individually. I think the painting of each frame was all done digitally but am not totally sure. The result is an animated film like no other that I have seen before. The style of animation changes from scene to scene, moment to moment. The breadth of artistic styles used is incredible...this is no ordinary "cartoon". The film is almost liquid in it's movement. I was sitting in the 2nd row, and must say that I was way way too close. It got a little much at times, and I just had to close my eyes for a moment. So, if you see it I would not recommend sitting very close to the front.

The theme of the film is also groundbreaking and astounding. Structurally it reminded me a lot of SLACKER in that it is a meandering film positing a lot of ideas and concepts. WAKING LIFE has more of a theme to it, though. And rather than the camera being the narrator (as in SLACKER), Wiley Wiggins (who you may recognize as the boy from DAZED AND CONFUSED) is our narrator as we follow him through what we eventually find out is a dream. After walking out of the film, I felt sucker-punched. It is so packed with ideas, theories, moments...it is hard to get your brain around all of it with just one viewing. Definitely will see it again when it is released in theatres. Thematically, the film deals with time, reality, existence, dreams, notions of self, notions of other, communication and the ability of speaking to convey feeling...I could go on and on. Getting a drink after the film, I just felt a lot more profound than I had just a few hours earlier. Words felt different...

All in all, an exceptional, groundbreaking film. It is also interesting to note that Richard Linklater's other film that showed at DIFF is TAPE, a digitally shot film with 3 actors and one set. Complete opposite end of the spectrum. I wish I could've caught it as I think it would have made an incredible companion to the complex nature of WAKING LIFE."