In celebration of Tyneside Cinema’s new season ‘Dream Logic’, Reel Recommendations has decided to offer a historic journey through a century of cinema (starting later than the earliest origins of the medium, beginning instead in 1910 and travelling through to 2020) in pursuit of a fevered map of filmic dreams and dreamy films. Imagine yourself striding through the oneiric ages: a cinematic sleepwalker, dreaming with eyes wide open.
As the lights come up, the sleepers begin to stir. The glare of sudden change feels brash and unwelcome, a clumsy concession that – LEAVE – BEGONE – the dream is ending, your hours of brief respite must now conclude; a few remain seated until the very final credits ascend with slow inevitability, the screen is blank – a diminished cyclops (or so the dozy romanticist imagines, slouched in their usual seat, reluctant to leave) – the house music starts up with all the blithe conviction of small-talk, and the ushers wait. The overspill of a century of dreaming (from the 1910s to the 2010s, courtesy of yours truly). The reel, having run its length, is returned. The audience bumbles into the foyer, eyes adjusting in the aftermath and still dazed with sleep, reticent to break the spell with speech. Others push past, loudly unbothered: “ the hell was that all about?”, “is the bar still open?”, “waste of money”, “unexpected dinosaur scene”… Pushing through the doors and out onto the street, here in the mundane commotion, the non-specific this and that of a city busy with the evening, it all continues: rudely awake and indifferent.
And yet, AND YET, sometimes, with the film still unfurling its influence, shimmying synaptic and fluttering in the neurons – where dream and memory collide, exchange and porously commune – everything begins, just slightly, to appear to you differently: newly charged with previously unencountered possibility, draped in the suggestions of another atmosphere, another time, another life; the residue of a dream that reveals itself in the inflection of what follows. On leaving the cinema, on those glorious and rare occasions in which the film imparts its dream, you might find the chance to see anew – as if the film has broadened the vocabulary of perception, ushering the experience of waking life into the semblance of a dream.
At this juncture, with recommendations piled high, it is time to say farewell. The series of Reel Recommendations draws to a close with one final recommendation, a mantra to repeat and follow above all others: KEEP GOING TO THE CINEMA! See as many films as you can in this increasingly endangered space in order to keep this space from disappearing. Cinemas across the country are closing; independent vision across curation, programming, artistic support and presentation has become a precarious dream, treated as a luxury in the continued economic neglect of art – as though a country’s culture should only ever be a begrudging afterthought or instrumentalised form of advertising. If you are in a position to be able to keep coming to the cinema, please do: you will be keeping it alive for future generations and for those who might not be able to at present.
ONWARDS fellow denizens of celluloid and digital, ONWARDS into the dream!
Werkmeister Harmonies (Bela Tar, 2000)
Songs from the Second Floor (Roy Anderson, 2000)
Dream Work (Peter Tscherkassky, 2001)
A Snake of June (Shin’ya Tsukamoto, 2002)
Reflections of Evil (Damon Packard, 2002)
Light is Calling (Bill Morrison, 2004)
4 (Ilya Khrzhanovsky, 2004)
Mind Game (Masaaki Yuasa, 2004)
Brand upon the Brain (Guy Maddin, 2006)
Blood Tea and String (Christiane Cegavske, 2006)
Inland Empire (David Lynch, 2006)
Slow Mirror (Buharov Brothers, 2007)
The Headless Woman (Lucretia Martel, 2008)
Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kauffman, 2008)
Un Lac (Phillipe Grandrieux, 2008)
Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010)
Katho Upanishad (Ashish Avikunthak, 2011)
Boro in the Box (Betrand Mandico, 2011)
Post Tenebras Lux (Carlos Reygadas, 2012)
Evolution (Lucile Hadzihalilovic, 2015)
The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin, 2015)
Cosmos (Andrzej Zulawski, 2015)
Horse Money (Pedro Costa, 2015)
The Assassin (Hou Hsiao Hsien, 2015)
Lek and the Dogs (Andrew Kötting, 2017)
November (Rainer Sarnet, 2017)
On Body and Soul (Ildikó Enyedi, 2017)
The Wolf House (Cristobal León & Joaquín Cociña, 2018)
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi Gan, 2018)
Liberté (Albert Serra, 2019)